|Declaration on Improving the Criminal Justice System Combating Violence Against Women
Launched on 8th December 2011 as part of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and valid till date.
We recognize and appreciate the role of Government of Pakistan in important policy and legislative measures such as the passage and implementation of anti sexual harassment laws and the recent Prevention of Anti Women Practices Bill 2011, and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2011, passed in the National Assembly and Senate. However the Criminal Justice System in Pakistan carries a great trust deficit for the marginalized sections of society including women, religious minorities and labor organizations. Violence Against Women cannot be eliminated fully unless the criminal justice system in Pakistan is made accessible, unbiased and effective for dealing with cases of violence reported by women.
We the concerned citizens of Pakistan, women’s rights activists and representatives of civil society organizations jointly present the following declaration to make the Criminal Justice System more effective in eliminating violence against women.
- We demand a criminal justice system that is supportive and sensitive to cases of violence against women. With regard to accessing justice for women in Pakistan it cannot remain only confined to access to courts or tribunals but justice should entail ensuring legal and judicial outcomes are just, transparent and equitable.
- All laws pertaining to violence against women approved by the Government need to be implemented through a coordinated response, the law enforcing agencies are generally unaware of the laws, we demand that the lawyers, police and judiciary members are briefed about the laws and a process of accountability mechanism set up to report every quarter on how cases are dealt at the district, provincial and national levels
- We are deeply concerned about the crimes of domestic violence and acid violence committed on women, we call upon the Government for immediate legislations against Domestic Violence and a comprehensive legislation against Acid Violence that criminalize such heinous acts and provide justice, protection and rehabilitation services to survivors fighting their cases.
- There have been concerns and complains from the police personnel especially at the Tehsil levels of lack of basic facilities such as, official transport, food, housing, low salaries, long working hours , personal expenditures on food, accommodation, uniform and transport which has created de-motivation in police to register complaints or deal with the law and order situation. We demand that the police stations be equipped with proper facilities to enable and empower police officers to conduct their duty in dealing with crimes of violence.
- We demand effective police reforms for reporting, investigations, independent and neutral prosecution mechanisms and an unbiased judiciary that is committed to uphold justice at the districts, provincial and national levels.
- Recognizing the right and equality to justice for all, cases of violence especially in rural and tribal areas should be dealt through proper courts and not referred to Jirga Systems (parallel judiciary system). We call upon the State to abolish such local power structures/systems that promote anti women judgements and discrimination.
- Legislation for women by the Government should recognize the principles of equality and rights specified in the constitution and the international commitments to which the State is signatory and not be based on any biases, discrimination or patriarchal beliefs or values.
- We are concerned that some of the laws that protect women from violence approved by the National assembly are either not taken up in the senate or lapsed within the 90 days of the specified time period. We call upon the Government that laws that lapsed in the past are reinstated and now follow the friendlier process applicable.
- We call upon the civil society to build strong alliances/networks and strategies of advocacy to support survivors fighting for justice against all forms of violence against women and to draw from good practices at national, regional and international levels on effective justice mechanisms.
|Endorsed by Organizations and Human Rights Activists
‘Acid Survivors Foundation, Insan Foundation Trust, Pattan Development Organization, Women’s Organization for Rights & Development (WORD), Cavish Development Organization, Mehergarh Learning Centre, Nomad Art Gallery, SEHER, Blue Veins, Shirkatgah, Rutgerswpf, Human Rights Commission for Social Justice & Peace Baluchistan, Rozan, Aurat Foundation, Asar Institution of Woman’s Study Centre Lahore, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, UKS Research Center, Bedari, Peace Education And Development (PEAD) Foundation Alph Consultants & Advocates, Sahil, Strengthening Participatory Organization, Center for Peace & Development Initiatives, GIZ Pakistan (Gender Responsive Policing Project), DFID, Working Woman Organization, SHAD (Seeking Honor & Dignity), Al-Asar Development Organization, Creativeangerrakhshi, Sachet Pakistan, Grassroot in Action, Today’s Women Organization Baluchistan, Rural Supports Programmes Network, Amal Human Development Network, Citizen’s Rights & sustainable Development, Woman’s Association Struggle for Development, Natpow (National Trust for Population Welfare, Peace & Development Organization, Pakistan Rural Development Program, SPARC, Pattan Lok Natak, Care International, Sister Trust, Women’s concern Network, Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights , Infochange Pakistan, Shirakat, Integrated Community Development Initiative, Progressive Women’s Association, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Taangh Wasaib Organization, National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA), Idara Baraye Taleem –o- Taraqi (IBT) Bahrain Swat and Ending Violence Against Women Alliance Islamabad
Dr. Farzana Bari Women’s Rights Activist, Dr. Zarina Salamat Peace Activist, Ms.Rabia Aslam Researcher/Activist, Ms Nasreen Azhar Women’s Rights Activist/WAF Member, Ms. Rukhsana Rashid Gender Expert, Ms. Shazreh Bano Gender Expert, Ms. Anbreen Ajaib Women’s Rights Activist.