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Law soon to curb violence against women

ISLAMABAD – Advisor to Prime Minister on Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education Nilofer Bakhtiar said that legislation to curb crime against women was under review by the Ministry of Law and would shortly be presented before the Cabinet for approval.

Nilofer stated this at the launching ceremony of the “European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights” in Islamabad on April 21.

She said most disturbing element of violence against women is the honour killing and the government is making law to curb this menace.

The Advisor said the violence against women is a social evil, which could be curb only by giving them economic empowerment and legal support.

She urged the need for the adoption of two-pronged strategy to tackle the issue; firstly to establish crisis centres, creation of public awareness and secondly giving the womenfolk economic power. She said the government is protecting and promoting the rights of women, children and the elderly and the disabled people in the country.

She said that for immediate redressal of the problem, the government had established complaint cells in the Women Police Stations.

“Pilot cells have already been set up in Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar and would be replicated in other cities,” she added. The advisor said the government has also formed crisis centres for women in Islamabad, Vehari and Sahiwal to provide free legal and medical aid to the women victim of the violence. She said the government is opening 10 more crisis centres in the country.

Nilofer said devolution plan is the turning point in empowerment of women, as 33 per cent women are representing at the local government system and 17 per cent in the federal and provincial assemblies and Senate.

She said that the government would soon launch micro-credit schemes for women in all the four provincial capitals.

Earlier, Ambassador of European Commission Ilkka Uusitalo said the European Union is spending 2.5 million euros in different projects of human rights and will provide 500,000 euros to 12 NGOs to support these projects this year. He said the European Commission (EC) appreciates the valuable experience and efforts of national and international NGOs within the field of human rights and democratisation and is committed to provide extensive support to NGOs in order to enable strengthening of a vibrant civil society.

He disclosed that the EU was funding human rights projects under two different means, macro and micro projects. Explaining macro project, he said this project is identified through calls for proposals by the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, with an EC contribution of not less than 300,000 euro, which is implemented by the civil society operators, including the local authorities.

The programme addresses the issues such as raising awareness of human rights, facilitation of discussion within the civil society about reform of legislation in view of human rights and problems pertaining to existing legal systems and its abuse, he said.

He said that these projects were designed to support local civil society initiatives and reinforce their contribution to human rights. He added that the civil society had an increasingly important role in the promotion of human rights and democratic values in Pakistan. Through these various initiatives the EU wants to contribute positively to improve the human rights situation in Pakistan, he added.
Source: The News
Date:4/22/2004

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