MOHR launches 1099 helpline app 16 days of activism campaign against gender based violence

Islamabad, November 25, 2020 (PPI-OT): Islamabad, 25th November 2020 – The Ministry of Human Rights is launching a 16 Days of Activism Campaign on women’s fundamental rights through a series of short informational videos covering important topics including sexual harassment, rape, the marriage contract, filing an FIR and women’s inheritance. The films have been developed in collaboration with the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (SOC) Films. The Films will be available in Urdu, Sindhi, Pushto, Punjabi Balochi languages. The films will be broadcast widely across social media through live watch parties that will be conducted through-out the 16 days of activism from 25th November 2020 to 10th December 2020.

The films will also be disseminated to numerous universities and colleges across Pakistan, as well as amongst the Civil Society to increase outreach. Several engaging radio shows are also being conducted with leading lawyers and human rights experts, to generate greater awareness around these issues and stimulate discussion and dialogue at the grassroots level. The Ministry of Human Rights is also launching the 1099 Helpline APP which has been developed in collaboration with UN Women, to streamline and strengthen grievance redressal mechanisms against human rights violations, particularly with regards to Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse.

The 1099 Helpline APP is already available for download on the Google Playstore, and will be available on the apple store as well early next month. Since the helpline itself was launched in November 2018, it has received over 450,000 calls, 49% of which were related to Women’s rights. The APP will provide an alternate and effective mechanism to launch and track complaints related to human rights violations. Federal Secretary for Human Rights, Rabiya Javeri Agha gave the welcoming remarks at the event.

She said, “The Ministry of Human Rights has placed an emphasis on strengthening grievance redressal mechanism to end violence and exploitation of women and girls in Pakistan. The launch of our 1099 helpline app is another important step towards strengthening these mechanisms. The Ministry is committed to raise awareness among Women and educate them on their fundamental rights. The short films developed on topics that impact women are aimed at fulfilling this mandate.

Deputy Head of European Union Delegation, Thomas Seiler also attended the event. In his statement, he emphasized: “Promoting women’s rights and gender equality is essential for the European Union in its relations with third countries. We therefore value the cooperation with the Government of Pakistan and the efforts to promote these fundamental rights. The Huqooq-e-Pakistan project is a very good example of this cooperation. Our dialogue includes the fight against Gender Based Violence, which is a serious matter, above all in times of Covid-19. Gender equality is also a critical economic component. We know that countries, where women’s rights are respected, have stronger growth and are more productive and prosperous.”

The HeP is a European Union (EU) funded programme with the objective of supporting the continued efforts of the Government of Pakistan for the promotion of human rights. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the institutional and policy framework at the federal and the provincial level for the promotion and protection of human rights. UN Women Country Representative, Ms. Shameela Rasool also attended the launch event. She said, “Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a grave violation of basic human rights, globally affecting one in three women in her lifetime. Survivors’ journey to access justice and reintegration into the society should be the measure of our success as support groups for the distressed.

Therefore, it is imperative to strengthen every node of this journey and to sensitize every stakeholder at every level. To advance these goals, UN Women is working very closely with the Ministry of Human Rights for improving the lives of women and girls of Pakistan: be it through institutional strengthening and capacity building, technical assistance for implementing, monitoring and reporting on internal commitments, data collection, legislative reform and advocacy, or service delivery for survivors.” Federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari reiterated the importance of strengthening and supporting grievance redressal mechanisms.

“Last month, we also launched the Zainab Alert Mechanism on the Pakistan Citizen’s Portal as well as a community engagement campaign to raise awareness about the system, thereby encouraging and increasing reporting of child abuse in Pakistan. The series of films and radio shows that we are holding for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence have the potential to educate women about their fundamental rights. With the additional launch of our 1099 helpline APP, we are hopeful that the alarming figures related to gender-based violence and child abuse will steadily begin to drop.”

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