KARACHI: UN Women Pakistan, Sindh Women Development Department and Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) lunched a Women Protection Unit (WPU) in the metropolis that will work 24/7 to provide immediate assistance to women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), said Advocate Zia Ahmed Awan, President of LHRLA.
The ceremony was presided over by the Sindh Minster for Women Development Department Syeda Shehla Raza.
Raza said that her department had been serving the women of Sindh and, in collaboration with different NGOs, the department had initiated projects for women in Thar as well. She said that the government of Sindh had earmarked huge funds for the welfare of women. The provincial government would provide assistance to the NGOs working for women development.
However, Awan said that women and girls could approach the protection and prevention services of the WPU through the Madadgar Helpline 1098 at any hours of night and day.
He said that 16 days of activism against gender-based violence showed dedication and commitment towards helping and elevating the condition of women in society.
He said that the protection unit will work as an extension of Madadgar Helpline 1098, an existing project started with UNICEF and Plan International was operational for over 18 years.
Awan informed that the helpline was established in 2001 and during 2016-2017 it addressed 10,976 cases related to violence that ranged from attempted homicide and dowry issues to cybercrimes. Among those reported cases, 7,900 cases were from Sindh, followed by 1,387 cases from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,233 cases from Punjab and 456 from Balochistan.
On this occasion, UN Women Regional Director Anna-Karin Jatfors and Deputy Country representative Ayesha Mukhtar, Pakistan’s women Foundation for peace Chairperson Nargis Rehman, Aurat Foundation Resident Director Mehnaz Rehman and others also spoke.
Later, the representatives of UN Women Pakistan and their global team paid a visit to the Women Protection Unit in Karachi.
In addition to the establishment of protection unit in Karachi, LHRLA in collaboration with UN Women Pakistan and Women Development Department of Sindh will conduct awareness sessions in Karachi, Khairpur and Dadu on gender-based violence, protection and prevention.