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Stark women rights violations during 20

ISLAMABAD – The world community this year too is celebrating the International Women’s Day with the theme ‘Investing in Women and Girls’ today (Saturday) but a common woman of this country still continues to struggle for her basic rights where violence against women in different forms also on the rise.

The Working Women Organisation Trust, which represents thousands of women working in different fields across the country, staged a protest demonstration to highlight their problems of transportation.

“We want to celebrate it with our own theme related to our genuine problems like transport. We are not like the five star NGOs. Our members are common working women of this country whose biggest problem is transportation,” the representatives of the organisation said.

The report by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) unveils stark women rights violations during the year 2007 and according to the report apparently no change has occurred on violence against women front even after introduction of women protection bill in 2006.

According to Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) a total of 2,226 cases of violence against women have been reported across the country from January to December 2007. Of these 1,739 were acts of physical abuse while 527 included sexual abuse.

Director of Legislative Watch Programme Aurat Foundation Naeem Mirza said the biggest dilemma of women is that they are not treated as equal citizens of the country. They are not included in the decision-making process so they are not given their due resources and rights.

Human Development Indicators in every sector whether it is health or education or in any other field women are the worst sufferers. Reproductive health of women is serious in the country and most of the women suffer from anemia because of improper diet and poor health facilities, he continued.

According to the AHRC from January to August 2007, more than 900 victims have been murdered subsequent to being abused; 809 received serious injuries at the hands of male family members or strangers.

‘Honour’-killings, domestic violence, including maiming and harmful traditional practices continued at a high level. The government had introduced an honour-killing bill in 2004 but it focused more on procedural amendments rather than amending the main law.

Ironically, even after the new law of Women Protection Bill in 2006, Pakistani women remain no better off than during the existence of the Hadood Ordinance. The general condition of the majority of women has not changed.

Regarding cases of sexual abuse and rape, law enforcement authorities still seem to follow antiquated methods.

Through the Finance Act the working hours of women have been increased, forcing them to work until late in the night without any break. Through this law, the previous facilities provided in relation to working hours of women were all abolished. They do not have medical facilities even in the formal sector.
Source: The Nation
Date:3/8/2008

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