Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Pakistan reaffirms resolve to empower women

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ISLAMABAD, NOV 25 (DNA) – On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Pakistan reaffirms its resolve to empower women and end violence against them.

Steady progress has been made in the country through legislative, policy and institutional measures to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, in particular to address the issues of violence against women, domestic abuse, harassment, and the protection of social and property rights.

Pakistan’s National Action Plan on Human Rights has ‘Protection of Women’ as one of its key priority areas. Women Protection Centres and a 24-hour Helpline (1099) have been established to provide free legal advice, redressal and referral mechanism.

This day should serve as a solemn reminder of the need to address the systematic violence against women in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).For several decades, India has employed rape, torture, degrading treatment and killings of Kashmiri women as instruments of its state terrorism in the occupied territory.

Since 1990s, dignity and lives of at least 11,000 women have been violated by Indian occupation forces. Hundreds of cases of violence remain unreported due to fear of reprisals.

The level and form of State-sanctioned violence against Kashmiri women has reached new heights since India’s illegal actions of 5 August 2019 in IIOJK.

Kashmiri women in the occupied territory are living in a constant state of siege and surveillance. Body searches, ill-treatment and molestation of young women during fake “cordon-and-search operations” are being used with complete impunity by the Indian occupation forces.

India’s use of rape as a weapon of war in the world’s most militarized zone has been extensively documented by the UN human rights machinery, global media and independent civil society organizations.

The two Kashmir Reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2018 and 2019) have recorded in detail the sexual violence against women in IIOJK and the wide-scale abuse of their basic human rights. These reports have, inter alia, deplored lack of justice for the victims as a key human rights concern and called for repeal of all draconian laws.

Pakistan calls on the international community, including the UN human rights mechanisms, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict to take cognizance of these crimes against women in IIOJK and hold India accountable for its failure to uphold its international obligations.=DNA

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