(National): WDD, PCSW, UN body launch report on ending violence against women

Lahore:Women Development Department (WDD) Punjab, the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) and UN Women Pakistan launched a seminal report on ‘Gap Analysis of Legislation related to Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) in Punjab’ on Tuesday.

The aim of this report is to review the existing provincial legal framework in the light of national and international obligations of Pakistan and provide a detailed analysis of the normative, implementation, monitoring and information gaps and propose forward looking recommendations.

The Gap Analysis Report has been designed and commissioned by UN Women Pakistan in partnership with WDD with the financial support of UK Aid. The virtual launch was chaired by the Provincial Minister for Women Development, Ashifa Riaz Fatiyana, Secretary WDD Ambreen Raza, government officials, representatives of civil society organizations, media, academia, and legal community.

Minister Ashifa Riaz Fatiyana, in her remarks, said, “While we have many laws, the implementation of laws is critical to support women and girls in the province. The Motorway rape incident could have been avoided if there had been effective implementation of women protection laws and speedy dispensation of justice in such cases. I believe that the Police should be engaged through advocacy efforts as their sensitization and capacity building is key to addressing such issues. All of us must continue to strive to introduce new and continue existing better initiatives for women in the province.”

Ambreen Raza, Secretary WDD, said, “This Gap Analysis Report of Laws relating to Ending Violence Against Women is our joint venture with UN Women which will create a better understanding of the legislative framework to support the enactment and effective implementation of inclusive legislation in Punjab.”

She informed that seven normative, and eleven implementation laws in Punjab, and 12 normative, and seven implementation laws at the federal level that are applicable in Punjab have been reviewed and analyzed under this process. She termed the launch as a landmark achievement, saying that it would lead to further advocacy efforts for legislative amendments.

Jacqui Ketunuti, Deputy Country Representative UN Women Pakistan, in her opening remarks said, “An important aspect of our work in Pakistan and globally is to focus on the alignment of national laws and policies with international commitments, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our strong partnership with WDD and PCSW has resulted in the launch of this EVAW Laws Gap Analysis Report today. UN Women is committed to continue this work with government and other partners for developing and implementing long-term legislative initiatives for gender equality and women’s empowerment so that we can create an environment where girls and women can be free from all forms of violence.”

Saman Ahsan, Portfolio Manager EVAW, Governance and Human Rights UN Women Pakistan, said, “WDD is our longstanding partner and we are pleased to work together on CEDAW-compliant legislation to promote gender equality in the province.

Punjab has developed many laws that are pro-women. To address the issue of violence against women and support and promote women’s empowerment, laws need to be very strong and their proper implementation ensured. This report will help in advancing the legislative reform agenda of the province.” Khadija Ali, the key author and researcher, gave a presentation on gap analysis report.