Main priority is people knowing their rights: CM's adviser
When you talk about human rights, you must talk about women’s rights, according to Sindh Women Development Minister Shehla Raza.
She was speaking at a panel discussion jointly organised by the UNDP Pakistan, EU and Sindh Human Rights Department on Human Rights Day.
“To safeguard women, the government of Sindh has adopted The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act that bans physical torture as well as victimization through psychological, economic and social means,” she explained, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected women and children the most. The government is working on prevention through raising awareness, on response through its 1094 helpline and on rehabilitation through providing security to people.
The panelists also discussed laws passed in Sindh to protect vulnerable groups including the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2013, Sindh Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2018, Sindh Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2018, and Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013.
Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Human Rights Veerji Kolhi said the Human Rights Department’s priority is raising awareness among the people of Sindh about their rights.
“We are working on translating special laws into regional languages so that all citizens, regardless of their faith, gender, age and ability, are aware of what rights they have,” he said. The department is continuously working towards strengthening human rights structures in Sindh so they are strong enough to protect people and fulfil Pakistan’s international commitments, he added.
UNDP Pakistan’s Assistant Resident Representative Kaiser Ishaque congratulated the Sindh government on their efforts to protect and promote the human rights of marginalized groups through a strong legislative framework.
“UNDP is keen to continue its collaboration with the department, including supporting the effective implementation of policies protecting the rights of those traditionally left behind, strengthening collection and digitization of human rights data and implementation of Pakistan’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in the province,” he said.
European Union Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said the EU is pleased to support the government of Pakistan – and in Sindh – to promote human rights. The EU’s support also includes awareness raising on women’s rights and violence against women, she said, adding that capacity building of law enforcement and judiciary is also part of their vision.