Posts Tagged ‘islam’

Acid Survivors Speak Out

January 12th, 2010

An article from The Nation on the net.

Acid attack victims pin hope on new laws

Published: January 05, 2010

The uneducated woman from cotton belt in rural Punjab province may want brutal justice, but activists are pressing for a change in the law to help prevent such attacks.
Thanks to a struggle in the highest court in the land by another acid attack victim – Naila Farhat – campaigners are hopeful that this devastating form of violence can be curtailed.
Ours is a conservative country, where women – especially in poor, rural areas – can be treated like commodities with little protection from the police and under pressure not to disgrace their families.
“Their families will say ‘it’s the wrong thing to go to the courts, what will society think about you?’,” said Sana Masood, the legal coordinator with Pakistan’s Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF).
The nation remains without a domestic violence law. It has been drafted, but lawmakers say it is still under debate as a senator from a hardline party raised objections and sent the bill back to parliament.
Acid attacks are rising, with ASF recording 48 cases in 2009 and Sana says countless more probably go unreported because of social stigma.
That is up from about 30 cases in 2007, a rise Sana says could be blamed on increased stress in people’s lives as inflation soars.
Farhat was just 13 years old when a man threw acid in her face in 2003 because her parents refused to let him marry their child.
The attacker was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay Rs1.2 million in damages, but on appeal a high court reduced the damages and said the man could go free once the money was paid.
Enraged, Farhat and ASF went to the Supreme Court – the first acid attack case to be taken to the highest court – where judges overturned the high court ruling within minutes.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry took a personal interest in the case, and recommended that the government pass new legislation to control the sale of acid and increase punishment for acid attacks.
Sana says industrial-strength acid used in cotton processing can be bought by anyone for just a few rupees.
“Because of its easy accessibility to the general public, for very stupid domestic issues they will just throw acid on each other,” she said. “It does not only destroy a person’s face but it destroys a person’s life.”
Also key would be the introduction of a law requiring the attacker to pay for their victim’s painful and expensive treatment and counselling.
ASF has been pushing for such laws for years, but now hopes a bill will be tabled in parliament this month.
“They should, with relevant amendments, pass it unanimously and we don’t expect the government to unnecessarily delay the process or create any blocks,” said parliamentarian Marvi Memon, acknowledging the process could take months.
Without Farhat, these steps may never have been made, and she remains dedicated to helping other victims, coaching Bibi through her treatments and helping her come to terms with her future.
“I encourage other acid attack victims and tell them that they should continue fighting for their rights and should not hesitate to come out of their homes, they should come forward,” Farhat told AFP.

What is GJP?

January 12th, 2010
Gender Justice & Protection Project

Violence Against Women (VAW) is pervasive across class, religion, ethnicity and urban/rural divide in Pakistan. Violence and the threat of it contribute to the low social indicators for women’s development in the country. The Gender Justice and Protection Project (GJP) is a key initiative of UNDP’s Gender Support Program funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The five year project has been initiated to contribute to sustainable reduction in violence against women (VAW) in accordance with the government’s policy commitments. The project has established a fund to support promising initiatives from the Government and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to combat the prevalence of violence, abuse, discrimination and social exclusion against women.

About Acid Survivors Foundation UNDP Project :GJP And Our Awareness Raising Strategy.

January 12th, 2010
The panel for discussing gender Justice Programme from UNDP and eradication of violence against women.

The panel for discussing gender Justice Programme from UNDP and eradication of violence against women.

Screening of Documentary and Panel Discussion on VAW

December 2009: An event titled ‘16 Days and Beyond….’ to commemorate the end of the 16 Days of Activism on Eliminating Violence against Women, was organized by the project on 9 December 2009 in Islamabad. The event featured screening of a documentary “Bushra Survives” by the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), one of the implementing partners of GJP, followed by a panel discussion on VAW.

Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director UNDP and Mr. Mr. George Turkington, Head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) were the chief guests for the occasion. The eminent panelist for the event included: (i) Ms. Saba Gul Khattak, Member Social Sectors, Planning Commission; (ii) Ms. Marvi Memon, Member National Assembly; (iii) Dr. Farzana Bari, Head of Gender Studies, QAU University; (iv) Dr. Rakshinda Parveen, social activist; (v) Ms. Samar Minallah, human rights activist and documentary film maker; (vi) Ms. Valerie Khan Yusufazi, Chair of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF); and (vii) Mr. Salman Asif, Gender Advisor, UNDP. A large number of stakeholders also participated.

9th December 2009: Celebration Of 16 Days Of Activism For Eliminating Violence Against Women.

December 28th, 2009

The press conference was organised by DFID and UNDP Gender Justice Program in collboration with Acid Survivors Foundation. ASF-Pak documentary "Bushra Survives". Valerie Khan Yusufzai, ASF-Pak Chairperson was amongst the panelists.George Turkington. Head of UK DIFD in Pakistan also isnsited on the need to eradicate violence against women, a global phenomenon. This press conference organised by DFID Pakistan and  UNDP in collaboration with Acid Survivors Foundation was the occasion to remind all stakeholders that Violence Against Women was a major breach of Human Rights and also the occasion to identify the way forward : strengthening the civil society collaboration, education for grass root community members and capacity building of caregivers as well as sensitisation of key decison makers such as parliamentarians, was declared  essential to bring a sustainable change.

Abdul Rauf from GEO, was the anchor person.

If you wish to get more information regarding the event, kindly follow this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukinpakistan/sets/72157622841803305/