Islamabad: Mr. Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights along with Ms. Fiza Batool Gilani, Honorary Goodwill Ambassador for Women Empowerment, presided over a meeting on human rights issues and women empowerment on 13th of December at Ministry of Human Rights. Mrs. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to Prime Minister also attended the meeting. Ms. Fiza Batool Gilani, Honorary Goodwill Ambassador was briefed about the overall working, structure and functions of the Ministry.
Besides, she was apprised about recent legislative initiatives and reforms for addressing human rights issues like National Commission for Human Rights Bill, the Women in Distress and Detention Fund Bill, National Commission for Women Bill, and Prevention of Anti Women Practices Bill (Private Member Bill).
She was also informed about different funds which the Ministry manages for relief and rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations and marginalized segments of the society like Human Rights Relief Fund, Diyat, Arsh and Daman Fund, Human Rights Revolving Fund, Women in Distress and Detention Fund.
She was briefed about international commitments such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention Against Torture (CAT), Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia etc.
She was also briefed about ongoing projects like Family Protection and Rehabilitation Centre, Islamabad, 12 Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centers for Women in Punjab, feasibility study for construction of two Working Women Hostels.
She was also informed about different commissions which would be given greater administrative and financial autonomy like National Commission for Human Rights, National Commission on Status of Women and National Commission for Child Welfare and Development. Different steps taken by the Government for women empowerment e.g. special quota in jobs and legislation for the protection of their rights were also highlighted.
Numerous challenges like poor institutional mechanism, lack of awareness on human rights, negative socio-cultural norms and traditions, patriarchal set up affecting women empowerment, weak grievances redressal mechanism and financial constraints of public sector institutions were also discussed.
A way forward was also proposed and the need to develop infrastructure for rehabilitation of women comprehensive policies/ strategies on women rights, awareness raising through mass media, public private partnership to address human rights issues was stressed. Mr. Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights stated in the meeting that his Ministry is committed to the protection, promotion and practice of human rights to foster peace and democracy in Pakistan.
Ms. Fiza Batool Gilani, Honorary Goodwill Ambassador for Women Empowerment, appreciated the efforts of the Ministry for the cause of human rights and assured of her full support and cooperation for addressing challenges and capacity issues of the Ministry. She expressed her resolve to work for the betterment and empowerment of women.
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