Posts Tagged ‘implmentation’

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.

Implementation Of Step 1: A Priority!

January 23rd, 2012
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Women’s rights: Activists, experts discuss effect of political instability on legislation

Published: January 19, 2012

Following devolution to provinces, progress made for the cause appears to have been reset. ILLUSTRATION: SAMAD SIDDIQUI

LAHORE: In a country as politically unstable as Pakistan, women’s rights activists and experts say, adoption of legislation to protect women is only a first step towards the long struggle that lies ahead for empowering women.

“Passage of the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 is just the first step and should be taken as just that, because devolution [under the 18th amendment] has left much to be desired in terms of implementation,” Valerie Khan, chairperson of the Acid Survivors Foundation, told a seminar on gender-sensitive legislation held in Lahore on Thursday.

Khan was a panellist at the seminar organised by NGOs Mumkin Alliance, an umbrella organisation of 16 member groups working against violence against women, in collaboration with South Asia Partnership – Pakistan. Representatives from across Punjab participated in the event.

Participants agreed that determining a mechanism to effectively implement a law’s provisions, particularly at the grassroots, is the biggest challenge in the fight against gender-based violence. Police behaviour and indifference of society towards violence against women were termed as other obstacles by grass roots activists and political workers.

“An implementation mechanism is not clearly determined when legislation is prepared and that is the one link which can help bridge the gap between law and its implementation,” said Salman Abid, regional director of the Strengthening Participatory Organisation. He said legislation on the issue had been regularly taking place but attitudes had remained entrenched. “The ‘woman question’ needs to be internalised and the matter needs to be taken up as a national cause rather than as a question of gender only.”

Greater female representation in parliament was termed a positive development, but absence of support at the grassroots level was identified as a hurdle.

“The presence of women parliamentarians has been a driving force behind gender-sensitive legislation,” said Mumtaz Mughal of the Aurat Foundation, citing research conducted by her organisation. “However, following devolution [of the subject of women’s rights] to provinces, delays have occurred in creating gender-sensitivity among relevant departments.”

Mughal used Punjab as an example where constant shuffled in bureaucracy have led to inordinate delays in the passage of a bill on domestic violence, which has been drafted and tabled in the Punjab Assembly. “The bill will protect vulnerable individuals, regardless of gender.”

“The Punjab government is committed to passing bills on violence against women, primary of these being the bill on domestic violence against women,” said Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, an adviser to the Punjab chief minister, who was the chief guest.

A consensus appeared among all participants on the significance of local bodies to ensuring implementation at the grassroots level.

“The Punjab government should appoint a woman provincial ombudsman who is authorised to receive complaints on violence against women,” suggested Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal.

“Men have to help create a space where the debate for accepting women can be generated,” said Bushra Khaliq of the Wise. “A girl, from the moment she steps out of her house to acquire an education and throughout her career, struggles against obstacles put up by society.”

Violence appears to be acceptable behaviour in Pakistan, said executive director of SAP-Pakistan Muhammad Tehseen Shah.

Grassroots activists raised the question of a lack of awareness about legislation among the activists themselves. Workers from women wings of various political parties, namely Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, participated in the seminar as well and criticised the ineffective implementation of laws.