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‘No trampling of women’s rights’

ISLAMABAD: Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman said on Tuesday that there will be no trampling of rights of women during the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government.

She said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was explicit in his instructions to the ministers that challenges facing the nation regarding enforcement of human rights, including those of minorities and women, had to be taken seriously.

Protecting rights: Sherry said that the PPP manifesto had made it clear that women’s rights would be given a high priority and this was indicated by the unanimous support for the bill opposing sexual harassment bill moved by the government.

She suggested that domestic workers’ rights should also be protected under the domestic violence bill that was awaiting discussion in the Standing Committee.

Sherry said that besides giving a high priority to women’s issues, the government would form a framework for effective implementation.

“It is important that we take the lead on its implementation in our own institutions as this would contribute towards ensuring a gender-balanced structure across the board,” she said.

She said that the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) could serve the purpose of augmenting women-related legislative efforts. “The government is working to strengthen the mandate of the NCSW as it is a part of our policy commitment.”

Women: The minister further said that the legislation against sexual harassment at workplaces would make a positive impact on the structure of the country’s labour force. “The fear of sexual harassment at the workplace either compels women to stay out of workforce, or negatively influences their motivation for contribution to an organisation’s output. For female victims, harassment carries an immense psychological burden as the onus is on them to address the issue. They also have to suffer the negative repercussions of making such incidents public. Our legislation liberates such victims from the responsibility of accepting it as part of everyday life.”

Plans: Calling the proposed legislation against sexual harassment a success of the people, she said that the civil society played an instrumental role in the drafting process and the legislation would be an example of the government-civil society collaboration.

“Following this success, our government would continue to work to create an environment for an inclusive legislation formulation and implementation structure,” she added.
Source: Daily Times
Date:11/12/2008

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