Posts Tagged ‘human’

Human Rights Youth Task Force: How Does It Work, What Does It Do?

July 9th, 2014

1) Check on facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004916086448&fref=ts

2) Developing work plans, tasklist.

At work, team work!

3) Starting implementing the work plan!

Child and her young peer volunteers donating a tea set for survivors and ASF staff!

The lead volunteer for this tea set? Kenizeh-Juliette, 7 years old!

Signature Campaign In Multan To Implement CEDAW And Eradicate Violence Against Women And Girls.

February 15th, 2014

Seminar

Engaging boys

Engaging students

16 Days Of Activism To Eradicate Violence Against Women And Girls

January 16th, 2014

Consultation with NCSW Pakistan, NCSW Nepal and NSCW Pakistan. ASF participating as an EVAWG alliance member.

Press conference to present recommendations from all EVAWG alliance chapters to the governement of Pakistan.

Collaborating with AUS Aid to enhance law implementation: Mr Mazhar Akram training lawyers on criminal law Amendment act (ACT XXV) , then lawyers giving their feed back. This is how training keep on improving…

January 16th, 2014

Ms Shazia, ASF NCRU coordinator introducing the session to lawyers in ICT

Delivering the training

Important step for the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill 2012

February 8th, 2013

Switching to life terms: MPs backtrack on death penalty plea for acid attackers

Published: December 23, 2012

Say proposal was intended as a deterrent against attacks.

ISLAMABAD: The Acid throwing and Burn Crime Bill 2012 has been referred to the relevant standing committee of the lower house for further deliberations but some of the movers have backtracked from earlier stance by opposing the proposal of death penalty for the crime

The original bill introduced by the group in the lower house last Tuesday had called for either the death penalty or life imprisonment as punishment.

Section 6 of the Acid Throwing and Burn Crime Bill, 2012 reads: “(1) Whoever commits or attempts to commit an offence of acid or burn attack shall: (i) if such act has resulted in the death of any person be punished with death or imprisonment for life; and; (ii) whoever intentionally causes hurt by Acid and Burn attack shall be punished with death or rigorous imprisonment for life.”

The group cited a growing number of acid throwing and burn crimes as the reason for suggesting the death penalty.

The bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice for fine tuning, and movers believe that the suggestion of capital punishment could trigger a new debate.

“The issue (punishment) will trigger a debate in the standing committee since the government is discouraging the death sentence,” said MNA Yasmeen Rehman while talking to The Express Tribune, on Saturday. “In my opinion, the punishment should not be the death sentence [for acid throwing crimes],” Rehman added.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also referred to the standpoint of her party’s government and said that the sentence is likely to change.  “I think it (the death sentence) will be changed during the likely debate in the standing committee,” she said.

Justifying the proposal, she said that several people were of the view that there should be severe punishment for such heinous crimes. She added that, until recently, there was no punishment at all for the crimes and the proposal was intended as a deterrent to curb the growing number of acid throwing cases.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali

“We will try our level best to have the bill approved in the next session of the National Assembly,” said Wazir Ali.

However, MNA Riaz Fatiana was not upbeat about the fate of the bill, citing the approaching end of term for the incumbent National Assembly and the lengthy process every bill goes through before being passed.

Responding to a question regarding punishment of the crime, Fatiana also said he was opposed to awarding the death penalty in acid or burn crimes.

“How many people do you want to hang?” he questioned, referring to existing laws according to which crimes under anti-narcotics or robbery are tantamount to a death sentence. He also highlighted another piece of legislation on the subject and said the maximum punishment for the offence is 14-year imprisonment and the same should apply to this bill. Responding to a question on the moratorium on of death penalty by the PPP government, he said: “The president has neither pardoned those who have been awarded the death penalty nor has he implemented the sentence.”

The bill was jointly introduced by four members of the  PPP Yasmeen Rehman, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Dr Nafisa Shah and Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, three members from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Dr Attiya Inaatullah, Riaz Fatyana and Humayun Saifullah Khan, and one member from the Muttahida Quami Movement Khush Bakht Shujaat.

Moved by Dr Attiya Inayatullah, the 35-clause bill provides guidelines for investigation, protection of witnesses, establishment of the acid and burn crime monitoring board as well as its responsibilities.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2012.

Comprehensive Acid And Burn Legislation Status

December 19th, 2012

POSITION PAPER: ACID AND BURN LEGISLATION IN PAKISTAN

In Pakistan, the acid and burn legislation aiming at eradicating acid and burn violence – one of the worst forms of gender based violence[1]- has been proposed after Naila Farhat’s case was taken to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2009: it was the first acid attack case reaching this level of jurisdiction in the history of Pakistan, the victim won the case and it was followed by a suo moto action of the Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudry , in November 2009, who consequently advised or requested Pakistani parliamentarians to legislate on acid and burn violence on the model of the Bangladeshi law. In view of this decision, the Pakistani civil society initiated an evidence based advocacy and lobbying campaign in January 2010 in collaboration with the then Federal Ministry of Women Development, Federal Ministry of Human Rights, parliamentarians (MNAs and MPAs), UN agencies, legal and medical experts, media, the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and acid survivors themselves, that initially resulted in the drafting of a comprehensive acid and burn crime prevention bill. This comprehensive bill was submitted to the then Federal Ministry of Women Development in July 2010. However, the Federal Ministry of Women Development did not follow up actively on this comprehensive legislation for acid and burn crime so meanwhile, a Parliamentarian, Marvi Memon, tabled a private member bill in May 2010 in the National Assembly that was entitled the Acid and Burn Crime Prevention Bill.

Hence, the legislative process became quite confusing: a private member bill had been tabled with no prior consultation with any other stakeholder while a widely supported comprehensive legislation was in process -or rather pending- with a government institution that had just been devolved. Keeping in view the best interest of the citizen- especially the acid attack victims- as well as the legal and political realities –including the passage of the 18th amendment of the constitution of Pakistan, the Pakistani civil society along with parliamentarians (MNAs and MPAs), UN agencies, legal and medical experts, media, the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and acid survivors themselves opted for an inclusive  and consensual 3 steps legislation apparel that was inspired from the Sexual Harassment legislation: 1) Amendment in the PPC 2) Comprehensive legal mechanism 3) Complementary law for acid. On 12th December 2011, those synergetic and participatory efforts led to the unanimous passage of Marvi Memon’s private member bill: the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 (Act XXV), by the senate.

This 1st achievement was highly celebrated at national and international level, and perceived as an extremely encouraging step towards eradicating acid violence in the country. However, the civil society insisted from 13th December 2011 onwards that it was only the 1st step of a more comprehensive legislative apparel and that more efforts and action from the government and the legislators would be required to also pass the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill (step 2) along with the Acid Control Bill (step 3) at provincial level. In fact, while the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 (HURT), Act XXV, specifically makes acid and burn violence a crime against the state and therefore makes it a non compoundable and non-bailable offence,  and while it imposes a 1 million rupees fine on the perpetrator, and grants between 7 years to life time imprisonment punishment, it is important to also address other aspects of the crime that cannot be part of a simple amendment in the Pakistani Penal Code: investigation process (protection to victims, witnesses, delay of investigation), trial process (type of court and trial duration), rehabilitation and legal aid services to victims, funding and monitoring mechanisms, regulation of distribution and sale of acid.

Since February 2012, the civil society and especially EVAWG alliances provincial chapters along with Media, MNAs and MPAs, reinitiated a campaign to get the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill (STEP 2) passed at provincial level as the need to further legislate on the matter was highlighted by a geographical, quantitative and qualitative spread of acid violence in the country: attacks extended to FATA, Kashmir, were used as a tool to practice honour killing, to threaten girls from attending school, to victimise minorities further, additional attacks were reported from Dera Ismail Khan. Defective implementation of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 (Act XXV) was also a reason to urge for the passage of the Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill at provincial level as it proposes a monitoring board. But where do we stand to date?

In ICT the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill has now been submitted by Dr Atiya Inayat Ullah to the National Assembly. This bill is co –signed by 11 parliamentarians from PPP, MQM, PML-Q and reached the Minister of Interior on 3rd October 2012 for official clearance so that it could be tabled in the National Assembly. The bill has now been sent back to the National Assembly and should be tabled the sent to the relevant committee for discussion on the next session in January 2012.

In Khyberpukhtunkhwa, the increase in the notifications of acid attacks from KP-FATA within the last 4 months (10 cases in total) has finally convinced the KP government that the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill had to be passed. The Provincial Commission on the Status of Women along with the civil society and Women Development Department-KP, media and parliamentarians reviewed the comprehensive bill that has now been forwarded to KP law department and sent back to SWD and WED KP. The KP government plans to table this comprehensive bill as a government bill in January 2013 session.

In Punjab, the comprehensive bill has been submitted to the Women Development Department and discussed with the Punjab Law Department, till date however, no comprehensive bill has been tabled in the Provincial assembly.

In Sindh, Balochistan, Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, no further action has been taken with regard to the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill.

If certain legal steps have been welcome such as inclusion of Burn Victims in the list of eligible beneficiaries for the Fund For Women in Distress, and if Punjab currently envisages to establish a 50 million board to benefit acid and burn attacks survivors, no half mending will be effective enough to counter acid violence in Pakistan. Apart from awareness and sensitization campaigns to generate behavioural change, a full fledge legislative apparel setting the norm which does not depend on political decisions and leaders but which is engraved into the legal framework of the country and which is adequately enforced, is imperative to make Pakistan a acid violence free country.

Valerie Khan Yusufzai

ASF-Pakistan Chairperson


[1] Violence against women is a “global phenomenon that kills, tortures, and maims – physically, psychologically, sexually and economically” and it results in denial of security, dignity, self-worth, and the right to enjoy fundamental freedoms to women. Acid throwing is an extreme form of violence that harms victims both physically and psychologically and results in their social marginalization and stigmatization. In Pakistan, 70% of the victims are women and girls. See Acid Survivors Foundation data.

ASF-Pakistan, Aus Aid press conference in pictures.

December 13th, 2012

Jinnah Institute representatives, Mr Peter Heyward Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Mr Mohammad Khan Executive Director ASF-Pakistan.

Official acceptation of ASF-Pakistan project "Enhancing Women’s Rights Through Effective Implementation Of Pro Women Legislation" by Aus Aid

ASF-Pakistan new collaboration with Aus Aid

December 13th, 2012

11 December 2012

Australia supports Human Rights NGOs in Pakistan

To mark International Human Rights Day, Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward announced major human rights funding grants to the Acid Survivors Foundation and the Jinnah Institute under Australia’s Human Rights Grants Scheme.

Both groups will receive A$100,000 (PKR10 million) towards their important projects.

Australia supports civil society organisations and human rights institutions in 126 countries including Pakistan through the Human Rights Grants Scheme. In Pakistan, past projects supported by the scheme include interfaith harmony, enhanced religious understanding, child rights and awareness about forced marriages.

Mr Heyward commended the excellent work of the Acid Survivors Foundation and the Jinnah Institute in the field of human rights.

“These organisations are a testament to the vibrancy of civil society in Pakistan and I particularly admire the dedication these groups have to eliminating violence against women and promoting strong human rights principles throughout the country and the region.”

He said the Acid Survivors Foundation has been working tirelessly to provide care and rehabilitation to acid-attack victims. The new funding will assist the Foundation to help victims seek legal recourse by ensuring that there is nation-wide awareness and implementation of the recent legislative changes against acid-based violence.

The Australian High Commission is also supporting the Jinnah Institute in its efforts to advocate for the inclusion of positive human rights messages and awareness of internationally accepted human rights standards in middle and high school curricula.

The High Commissioner took the opportunity to congratulate Pakistan on its recent election to the UN Human Rights Council and hoped Australia and Pakistan would continue their productive relationship and dialogue at the UN Security Council next year when Australia took up its non-permanent seat alongside Pakistan.

“Australia will continue to be a strong advocate for human rights, interfaith harmony and for the rights of women and girls in Pakistan and play an active role in providing for basic human rights including education and health assistance for some of Pakistan’s most remote and marginalised communities,” Mr Heyward said.

ASF Team Participating In EU Consultation With Civil Society On Its Human Rights Program.

October 17th, 2012

ASF Pakistan Joins Civil Society Rally To Protest Against Violence Against Children.

October 11th, 2012
Weather: Karachi | Lahore | Islamabad
Editor-in-Chief: Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman

Myra Imran
Thursday, October 11, 2012
From Print Edition
New  0  0  0
Islamabad

The civil society activists have demanded the government to declare October 9, the day when child peace activist Mala Yousafzai was attacked in Swat, as National Day for Girls Education.

A large number of civil society representatives and human rights workers gathered in front of National Press Club to condemn the assassination attempt on the 14-year-old Malala when she was on her way back home from her school. Malala Yousafzai, a social activist from Swat, stood up and spoke for children’s rights and peace in the time of militancy in the area. She was hardly 11, when she spoke to media for the right to education in Swat, which was banned by Taliban.

Even during the worst terror and peak of extremism in Swat valley, she was actively involved in action by writing a daily diary on BBC website with a pen name of Gul Makai. She is also the first Pakistani girl to be nominated for International Children’s peace prize by Kids Rights Foundation The protesters were holding placards inscribed with statements of praises for Malala’s courage and pledges to take forward her mission of educating girls. They raised slogans against Taliban. Jamaat-e-Islami workers also joined the protest. The protesters made speeches and marched towards Super Market.

The protesters urged the government to take full responsibility of the safety of its citizens and take substantive action against the perpetrators. They said that it was not only an attack on a Malala but it was an attack on the right of girl’s education.

“This is the right time that we all should stand against these forces leaving aside our political differences,” said human rights activist Nasreen Azhar, read statement of Women Action Forum (WAF).

The statement demanded all political parties, judiciary, media and civil society to collectively speak out against those who are terrorizing the country.

Talking to ‘The News’, Tahira Abdullah said that the attack has left her horrified and shocked. “It makes a mockery out of false and tall claims by the government and armed forces made in summer 2009 that they have cleared Malakand from militants. We have known this since that time, but the attack on Malala has provided us with the proof,” she added.

Farzana Bari said that the civil society has declared October 9 as National Day for Girl Education and demands the government to declare the same officially. She said that the civil society has also made a call for a nationwide march in the favour of girl education, which they plan in the middle of November.

Rehana Hashmi from Sister’s Trust Foundation said that the new trend of targeting women is completely against Islam and also the Pakhtun culture. “They have tried to create an environment of fear for girls,” she said terming it a conspiracy against the country.

Naeem Mirza from Aurat Foundation said that murder attack on Malala is a desperate act of extremist forces to frustrate youth of Pakistan particularly girls who have spoken courageously for their rights including right to education. “But they have failed as the incident has united the nation behind Malala’s vision,” he said.

Samina Nazir from Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy (PODA) said that she strongly condemn the shameful act and demand strict action against the perpetrators. “This is one of the many times when the human and women’s rights activists were threatened and attacked. The government must provide protection to those raising their voices for the rights,” she added.

Valerie Khan from Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) said that the incident was the extreme violence against children and urged the government to pass pending legislation for the protection of children.