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Int’l Women’s Day: Shireen Mazari reaffirms commitments for women’s rights protection

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: In her message on the occasion of International Women’s Day being observed on Tuesday, the Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari has reaffirmed the national and international commitments for the protection of women’s rights.

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The International Women’s Day 2020 is being observed under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.

The minister said that it is unfortunate that Pakistan is amongst the top 10 most vulnerable Countries to Climate Change, and what is even more alarming is that adverse Climate Change has a direct impact on women and their economic and social prosperity.

In Pakistan, a significant portion of our workforce, specifically comprising women, is directly involved in the agriculture sector and resides in rural areas.

In the aftermath of increasing droughts, rising temperatures and seasonal flooding, working women often find themselves without access to land, shelter and means of food production.

“On this day, I would like to congratulate not just the women of Pakistan but women all over the world for their relentless efforts and sacrifices which they have made and are still making to free this world from discrimination, inequality and gender biases,” Dr. Shireen Mazari said.

The minister for human rights said that as part of the positive measures taken by the Ministry of Human Rights in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, special emphasis was placed on the protection and welfare of women.

Dr. Shireen Mazari said that the Ministry of Human Rights has played a leading role in spreading awareness amongst women including women in prisons and victims of gender based violence.

The Ministry has also initiated a rigorous gap analysis of Pakistan’s COVID-19 response with a human rights perspective to identify areas where COVID-19 or its preventive measures have led to violations in human rights of certain population groups.

The minister said that we are committed to protect women’s social, political and economic rights with particular focus on marginalized women. In this regard, discriminatory laws against women are being amended continuously with the support of Women Parliamentarians.

The present government has taken concrete steps towards strengthening legislation to address issues such as violence against women, domestic abuse, harassment, social protection, economic participation and inheritance.

The Islamabad Capital Territory Senior Citizens Act, 2021, ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2020, Legal Aid and Justice Authority Act, 2020, Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Act, 2022, Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act 2019, Protection of Journalist and Media Professionals Act, 2021, The Protection of Women’s Property Rights Act 2020, the Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Act 2020 are significant pieces of legislation passed by the present government for the protection of human rights including women rights.

Shireen Mazari said that the Ehsaas Programme is our flagship social protection programme designed to provide social assistance to women and improve financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women.

“I would like to emphasize that a lot still needs to be done, and the foremost step is to bring a positive change in the attitude of men towards women in Pakistan,” she said.

The minister said that affirmative actions are being taken to sensitize and bring awareness amongst our citizens about the women’s rights protected under the Constitution of Pakistan and as well under the many international conventions ratified by Pakistan.

In addition, she also urged the International Community, UN Agencies and NGOs to play their due role to stop the massive human rights’ violations in the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) including abuse and mass violence against Kashmiri women in IIOJK.

Dr. Shireen Mazari said that the World must also act against the deprivation of Muslim women’s rights in India today as a deliberate policy of the BJP government. She said that there cannot be a selective approach to women rights by the international community.

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