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Benazir was an advocate of women’s rights, says UNIFEM

ISLAMABAD, Dec 27: The Country Director of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Pakistan, Ms Alice Harding Shackelford paid glowing tributes to Benazir Bhutto for her services for womenfolk.

Ms Benazir was a great advocate of women rights, the UNIFEM Country Director stated this at a recent Expert Group Meeting on Advancing Implementation of CEDAW in Pakistan. The consultation was held jointly by the Ministry of Women Development and UNIFEM.

She said, “there is much to celebrate as 2008 nears its end. It is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 50th anniversary of the CEDAW, the UN Human Rights Award to Benazir Bhutto, establishment of the Ministry of Human Rights in Pakistan and the first presentation by Pakistan to the Universal Period Review, under the Human Rights Council, to which Pakistan pledged in 2006.”

Ms. Shackelford congratulated the people of Pakistan for the award of the UN prize in the Field of Human Rights to Benazir Bhutto. The award is given to individuals and organizations in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.“Ms Benazir was a strong advocate and proponent of women rights”. Ms Shackelford maintained.

The consultants included two guests from the South Asian region, Ms Ferdous Ara Begum, UN CEDAW Expert Committee Member (from Bangladesh) and Ms Aisha Mohamad Didi, Former Minister for Gender and Family, Republic of Maldives and CEDAW expert who had been especially invited by the UNIFEM to share their expertise.

The Expert Group Meeting was aimed at sharing good practices across the region on CEDAW implementation. The participants discussed specific areas of CEDAW implementation in Pakistan, the CEDAW reporting mechanism as well as best practices and lessons from other regions.

The recommendations of the consultations include impact analysis of CEDAW implementation in Pakistan, strengthening inter-ministerial coordination and enhancing the capacity of national women’s machineries to spearhead the process. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed was key to the ratification of the CEDAW by Pakistan in 1996 under her premiership. CEDAW is the first and only international treaty that comprehensively addresses women’s rights in civil, political, economic, social, cultural spheres, public and private domains.

It defines human rights principles, norms and standards of conduct and obligations that States Parties to the Convention must fulfil with respect to women. “Strong leadership is the key to advancement of human rights and gender equality. Benazir Bhutto Shaheed showed how effective it can be,” Ms. Shackelford said in her concluding remarks.
Source: Dawn
Date:12/28/2008

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