Posts Tagged ‘legislation’

Presentation Of Needed Amendments For Comprehensive Acid And Burn Crime Bill 2014

June 25th, 2014

ASF Chairperson Valerie Khan along with Advocate Saad Rasool at Punjab provincial Assembly

Discussing the coming presentation to women parliamentary caucus members

The presentation in the Women Parliamentary Caucus was chaired by Fauzia Viqar, Chairperson PCSW and co -chaired by Minster for Social Welfare Department Punjab, to discuss the comprehensive legislation submitted by Asma Bokhari in Punjab Assembly on 5th June 2014. Valerie Khan and Saad Rasool explained that majority of acid and burn victims came from Punjab, that resources were available in pakistan : PIDSA project to build the Rehabilitation Center in Multan, inclusion of acid and burn victims in Fund for Women in Detention and in Distress, Bait Ul mal and other schemes… The comprehensive legislation will address all aspects of the acid and burn phenomenon that could not be tackled through a simple -but essential- amendment in the PPC.

ASF Event In Collaboration With Australian Aid And NCSW, Join Us!

April 15th, 2014

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.

Current Status of the Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill in Islamabad, Pakistan Federal Capital.

January 25th, 2013

Status of the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill in ICT in Pakistan : after having been tabled in the NA in Islamabad, the bill has now been sent to the Standing Committee of Interior. WE NEED THIS STANDING COMMITTEE TO MEET URGENTLY, STUDY THE DRAFT AND PROPOSE A FINAL TEXT TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY THIS COMING SESSION so that the bill can be submitted to vote…

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 And 16 Days Of Activism Against VAWG

November 30th, 2012

Press notice for Pakistan media

Friday 30 November 2012

16 days of activism to end VAWG (Violence against Women and Girls)

Safety at Home, Public and Work Spaces

This year, to mark the 16 days of activism against VAWG in Pakistan, the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF-Pakistan) has called on Pakistani policy makers to do more to speed up the passage of the “Comprehensive Acid And Burn Crime Bill” in the provincial assemblies.

Although the comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill is currently being processed in KP, Punjab and ICT, no provincial assembly had tabled this comprehensive acid and burn legislation yet.

Last year (12th December 2011) ASF-Pakistan, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development, led a campaign which resulted in the unanimous passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 made acid and burn violence a crime against the state and imposed fine worth ‘One Million’ Pakistani rupees, along with a punishment of minimum seven (7) years to life time imprisonment.

The legal milestone was widely welcomed but campaigners say it does not go far enough to eradicate acid violence, arguing that legislation needs to go further to include the trial and rehabilitation process. There is also concern that a lack of monitoring mechanisms will jeopardise effective implementation of the law.

Over the last seven months, ASF have been pushing provincial assemblies to pass the ‘Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill’ to strengthen pro women legislation to curb violence against women.

During this16 days of activism, ASF will remind policy makers at the “Safety at Home, Public and Work Spaces” event, that the results of past efforts to stop acid violence are not enough andthat survivors – mostly women and girls should be able to fully exercise their basic human rights.

The “Safety at Home, Public and Work Spaces” event hosted jointly by UK aid and the AWAAZ consortium, with support of the EVAWG alliance, IHI (InsaanHaqoodItehad), the ‘We Can’ Campaign, UN Women and the UNDP will take place on 6th December.

The event is anticipated to have theatre performances and interfaces with parliamentarians, media, students and above all survivors of violence will call on the Government of Pakistan to devise a common strategy to enhance safety for women and girls in the country.

Acid survivors turned into ‘agents of change’ will be given an opportunity to raise their voice and demand protection, safety and peace. The message they will deliver this event is “our work has just started!”

The UK Government is supporting Pakistan to empower women and girls, to end violence against them, and help Pakistan harness the talent, productivity, and economic dividend of half its population.

Recently (Wednesday) the UK Government launched a new initiative to help prevent violence against women and girls living around the world.UK’s International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

“It is shocking and unacceptable that in the 21st century one in three women is still beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. This matters for development: girls who experience violence are less likely to complete their education, find it harder to earn a living, and have a significantly higher risk of maternal death and vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.

“The UK is leading the international community to prevent violence against women and is working to get a better understanding of what works on the ground so we can stop it for good.”

Priorities for the UK aid for women and girls in Pakistan over the next few years include supporting more girls in school; tackling all types of violence against women, including domestic violence and honour killings; enabling more women to vote in elections; support women’s political engagement at all levels; supporting women to be trained in new skills; and helping women access financial services such as micro-loans;

Till date, acid attacks are spreading quantitatively and geographically in Pakistan; In year 2009, 43 attack cases were reported to ASF notification unit, 55 cases in 2010, 150 cases in 2011, this year 93 cases. More attacks are to be reported as many victims feel reprisal and therefore remain silent. The conviction rate for acid violence remains very low: 6% as per ASF data.

Media enquiries

Notes to editors

  • TheDepartment for International Development (DFID) is the UK’s Government department responsible for promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty. The central focus of DFID is a commitment to the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. Further information here http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Where-we-work/Asia-South/Pakistan/

The Acid Survivors Foundation – Pakistan is a Pakistani non for profit organization that aims at eradicating acid violence -one of the worst forms of gender based violence- in the country. It was established in 2006 and registered under Voluntary Social Welfare Ordinance, it has been partnering with UK Aid since 2009. Further information available on www.acidsurvivorspakistan.org; Facebook: acidsurvivorsfoundationpakistan.facebook.com

PODA Rural Women Conference: A Way To Reach Out To CSOs Members And Parliamentarians For Further Support For Comprehensive Acid And Burn Crime Bill.

October 20th, 2012

YOUTH ENGAGED along with UN women, UK Aid, ASF…

Advocacy And Lobbying Workhsop In Lahore: 3 Parliamentarians Agree To Table the Comprehensive Acid And Burn Crime Bill In Punjab Provincial Assembly.

October 3rd, 2012

The consultation was organised in collaboration with Mumkin Alliance, Aurat Foundation, MDM, UK Aid, UN Women.

Survivors, agents of change explaining their hurdle and why this comprehensive legislation is necessary.

Improving governance: when elected representatives commit to protect their constituency interest

ADVOCACY AND LOBBYING CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR PASSING COMPREHENSIVE ACID AND BURN CRIME BILL IN PAKISTAN!!!

August 2nd, 2012

JOIN HANDS AND BUILD THE MOMENTUM WRITING


COMMENTS UNDER THIS ARTICLE, THEY WILL BE


SENT TO POLICY MAKERS…LET US TAKE ACTION:


JUSTICE FOR ACID SURVIVORS IN PAKISTAN!

PAKISTAN, SHOW US YOU CAN DO IT !!!


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Comment: How many more faces will be lost?

Published: July 30, 2012

Despite a national resolve, provinces have not passed any bills on acid crimes.PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: In December 2011, some survivors of acid attacks sat in the Senate’s gallery to observe the passage of an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that declared such attacks criminal. The strong support of our Parliament on that bill was a major step toward dealing with this inhumane crime.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Oscar for a film on acid survivors got national and international acclaim and helped to move public opinion against this crime. The suicide death of acid victim Fakhra Yunus was another jolt. After numerous operations to normalise her face and body, she finally gave up and committed suicide in Italy. Many in Pakistan mourned her loss and wanted to put a stop to the menace of acid attacks, but the horror stories continue. Many more have become victims, blinded and deformed by egotistical criminals. Each of these attacks defaces the image of Pakistani society.

Since 2010, the Acid Survivors Foundation has led a movement to criminalise these inhumane acts. It received support from government officials, health practitioners, the academia, burn centre officials, civil society and parliamentarians. They worked together for a year to produce two draft bills. One was the PPC amendment to criminalise the action of acid and burn attacks, while the other was a comprehensive bill to strengthen the courts’ ability to convict the criminal and support the victim.

This second bill is necessary because the judicial process is complex. These crimes will not end only by criminalising the specific act. There are a number of other issues relating to the process of reporting, investigation, collecting medical evidence, compensation for rehabilitation, and protection for the victim and the witnesses. Both of these bills, like the twin laws against sexual harassment, are needed to address the complex social web surrounding this crime. Without these comprehensive laws, criminals will walk free while their victims will continue to live in shame and misery.

With regard to devolution, the provinces must address the issue in their assemblies while the federal government must take forth the bill for Islamabad. By October 2011, the National Commission on the Status of Women had reviewed the second, more comprehensive bill with its own legal experts and civil society. However, despite national resolve on this issue, not a single assembly has taken any step towards the passage of bills.

One wonders what is preventing the assemblies from taking up a bill that has been well-prepared, and is essential for the handling of heinous crimes. We have a federal government which has proven its commitment to women – having passed seven pro-women laws in the last three years. We have provincial governments that have taken on their devolved portfolio of women’s development quite well after June 2011, and are picking up the pace of action on implementing anti-sexual harassment laws.

One realises that the clash of our major national institutions has deflected priorities away from substantive issues, but the daughters of this country cannot keep losing their faces. How many more women will be deformed before the wake-up call is heard by chief ministers?

In the last three years, the partnership between the government and civil society on social legislation has been well established. The draft is ready, but the bill has to be moved. Who can we count on to keep up the pressure until a comprehensive law on acid crimes is passed? Can we count on the prime minister to push for passage of the bill for Islamabad, setting a positive lead for the provincial assemblies to follow? Can we count on the chief ministers to take this draft law up urgently, as if the next woman to lose her face will be their own daughter?

The latest democratic period has brought us many needed changes in our laws, and one continues to be optimistic that the society will soon move in a direction to resolve this issue as well.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.

Article In Dawn.Com

July 3rd, 2012

Need to implement pro-women laws’

From the Newspaper | | 28th June, 2012
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LAHORE, June 27: Participants in a seminar have urged the government and the civil society to make joint efforts to ensure implementation of pro-women laws in letter and spirit.

The seminar on ‘Law enforcement for pro-women legislation and the Domestic Violence Bill’ was arranged by Mumkin, an alliance of 18 civil society organisations, at a local hotel on Wednesday.

Chief Minister’s Adviser Begum Zakia Shahnawaz said the attitude of the society towards domestic violence was deplorable as it was considered a family matter in which the law and state should not intervene.

Some 610 incidents of domestic violence were reported and around 10,000 women were identified as victims of violence or forced marriage in the country, she said and added that it was the responsibility of the state to protect its population, especially the most vulnerable segments like women, elderly people and children, and to punish perpetrators.

Ms Shahnawaz said the Punjab government was encouraging the pro-women legislation and would effectively implement the Domestic Violence Bill after its passage from the provincial assembly after which such issues would be addressed amicably in Punjab and no-one would dare to torture the vulnerable people.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan General Secretary I.A Rehman said the government should be persuaded to implement in letter and spirit all laws in general and those pertaining to vulnerable segment of society in particular.

He said that it was the duty of the civil society to see how many cases were reported and how many were in courts.

Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq of Nasreen Trust explained various clauses of the draft domestic violence bill and its provisions, punishments and central demand for survivors of violence.

She urged the government to take proper action to protect vulnerable persons irrespective of gender.

Acid Survivor Foundation President Valerie Khan stressed the need to adopt law enforcement mechanisms for the pro-women legislation.

Vulnerable persons, especially women, had been facing a lot of problems to get cases registered in the police station concerned, she said.

Punjab Bar Council president Rana Muhammad Asif Saeed highlighted various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code regarding family disputes and domestic violence issues.

Social Welfare and Baitul Maal Secretary Sardar Akram Javeed spoke about the measures taken by the government for the betterment of women victims of violence.

He specifically mentioned the 35 shelter homes in Punjab where some 10,000 or so victims were accommodated free of cost annually.

Mumkin advocacy manager Summiya Yousaf said that 6,188 cases of violence against women had been reported in Punjab in 2011.

The passage of the Domestic Violence Bill and its implementation should remain key challenges and the Punjab government should be the model province for women rights.