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Civil society holds demonstration in support of women’s rights

Faisalabad: Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM), Peace and Human Development (PHD Foundation), Lyallpur Development Organization (LDO), CRC SPARC and Liaison for Enforcement of Human Rights (LEHR) jointly staged a demonstration titled “End Gender based Violence and Discrimination” to observe the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

The demonstrators strongly condemned the inhuman treatment against women, and urged the government to take steps towards protection of women’s rights. At this juncture, the demonstrators shouted slogans in support of women’s rights and in opposition to gender based violence, intolerance and discrimination.

They were also holding placards and banners criticizing laws and customary practices against women, sexual harassment, jirga system, rape, forced abortion, women trafficking, killing in the name of honour, culture and religion, forced marriages, marriage to the Holy Quran, mutilation and acid attacks.

This demonstration was held at District Council Faisalabad, and was joined by over 80 people from different walks of life including students, lawyers, representatives of trade unions, political parties and civil society organizations namely; AWAM, LDO, PHD, POWER, NCJP, DOST, RDS and Workers Party Pakistan.

At this juncture, Naseem Anthony, Iftikhar Ahmad, Nazia Sardar, Shazia George, Arif Ayaz , Mrs. Rizwana, Mrs. Naseem and Mr. Amir Shahzad shared their views, and expressed concerns on the situation of women in Pakistan. The speakers discouraged the elements involved in inciting gender based hatred and violence in the society.

They lauded passage of the bill approved by the National Assembly to prevent anti-women practices, and called upon the senate to prove its commitment towards empowerment of women by approving the pro-women bill without delay.

They termed ‘absence of proper legislation against gender based crimes’ and ‘huge acceptance for violence against women in Pakistani society’ the root causes behind the violation of women’s rights, resultantly gender based violence is common and recurring day by day, and goes unchecked and unreported.

The demonstrators for the prevention of gender based violence demanded that: Government must make discriminatory actions against women punishable offenses, and should take affirmative measures to amend the discriminatory laws including Evidence Act, Citizenship Act, Hadood Ordinance, Qisas and Diyat Ordinance and Custodianship Act, following the principles of equality and non-discrimination; Government must ban jirga system and revoke customary practices including honour killing, vani, burying women alive, domestic violence, forced or exchange marriages; New legislation must be created to combat all forms of violence against women especially prevention against domestic violence and acid attacks, whereas more shelter homes and crises centers must be set up for the protection of women victims of violence; The gender biased material must be culminated from the curriculum, whereas stern action must be taken against elements involved in demolishing girls’ educational institutions, and inciting gender based hatred and violence in the society; The women workers must be protected against harassment and discrimination at work places, and safe women friendly atmosphere should be created at work places; The unrecognized women workers engaged in informal sectors including home-based workers, peasant workers and domestic workers should be recognized legally as part of the labour force, whereas ILO conventions protecting rights of home based workers and domestic workers must be ratified; The government must ensure the proper implementation on the UN convention CEDAW preventing all forms of discrimination against women, and should repeal domestic laws contradicting CEDAW; The women must be provided equal representation in all spheres of life for their empowerment.

For more information, contact:
Naseem Anthony
Executive Secretary
Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)
Street No.9, Block ‘D’, Barkatpura, G.P.O 665, Railway Road,
Faisalabad-38000 Pakistan
Tel: +92-41-2004270
Fax: +92-41-8721370
Email: contact@awampk.org

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