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NIWC to monitor implementation of laws on harassment

ISLAMABAD: Dr Fouzia Saeed chaired The National Implementation Watch Committee’s seventh meeting on Tuesday at the NIWC office.

Prime Minister formed the committee to facilitate and monitor compliance with the anti sexual harassment legislation: Protection Against Harassment of Women Act, 2010 and amendment to section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The committee, comprising of representatives from civil society organizations, private sector, government and media, meets after every three or four months to determine the status of the implementation of these laws.

The members assessed the progress made by them in implementing the laws. The provincial representatives, who have undertaken the task of implementing these laws on the provincial level, included Additional Secretary of Women Development Department Balochistan Salma Qureishi, Director of Social Welfare and Women Development Department Punjab Sajjad Haider Sipra, Deputy Secretary of Women Development Department Sindh Mussarat Jabeen and, Chairperson of Provincial Commission on the Status of Women Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Zubaida Khatoon.

The provincial representatives shared the progress they have made in the provinces highlighting the number of sessions they have conducted and their progress in the process of setting up of the Provincial Implementation Watch Committees and appointment of the provincial ombudspersons.

The committee in the meeting decided that it needs to continue its facilitating role but now needs to engage intensively to monitor compliance with the laws. The database (www.sexualharassmentwatch.org) launched on July 05, after the sixth meeting of NIWC was discussed and all the members shared their inputs in spreading awareness about the database and what more can be done to monitor compliance. It was agreed during the meeting that every organization that the committee members facilitate to comply with the laws would have its information fed on the database.

The committee discussed another monitoring mechanism where it was decided that the Committee would undertake ‘random monitoring visits’ to different educational institutions, private sector organizations, government organizations, civil society organizations and international non-governmental organizations. The NIWC members will check whether the posters of the Code of Conduct have been displayed or not, whether the employees are aware that their organization has complied with the legislation or not and whether their employees know who the inquiry committee members are or not. The information gathered from the database and the information compiled after these monitoring visits would help NIWC consolidate its report, which would be presented to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The committee showed concern over frequent cases of sexual harassment in PIA. The meeting concluded on a positive note in which all the members pledged their full support to the cause of eradicating sexual harassment by implementing the promulgated legislation in letter and spirit.

Source: Daily Times


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