‘Govt prioritises inclusion of marginalized, vulnerable groups’

December 07, 2023

Islamabad: Rights and inclusion of marginalized groups in Pakistan has been one of the priorities for the government, as various laws and policies are a testament to its commitment to inclusion of the vulnerable groups in the country, said Caretaker Minister for Human Rights, Khalil George.

The Federal Minster was speaking at the concluding session of the two-day Aawaz II Learning Forum, organized by British Council, Peace and Justice Network and Omar Asghar Khan Foundation. He said that people from all groups, religions, identities are equal citizens of Pakistan.

Caretaker Human Rights Minister Khalil George speaks during a public event in this image on November 2, 2023. — Facebook/Allama Iqbal Open University

The British Council's Awaz-II program, driven by 40,000 volunteers, addresses Gender Based Violence (GBV) and emphasizes sustainable development. The initiative recently launching the 16 Days of Activism in 37 districts. Representatives from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), British Council, government departments, civil society and community leaders from 37 districts of KP and Punjab attended the event and contributed significantly in the discussions around various themes.

During his inaugural address, Andrew Bowden, the Group Head of FCDO in Pakistan, highlighted the effectiveness of Aawaz II in establishing a framework for collaboration among the government, civil society, and communities. He emphasized the model's success in addressing crucial issues such as gender-based violence (GBV) and promoting interfaith harmony. The event also featured experience sharing by community members who talked about how activities organized by Aawaz-II brought change in their lives through information dissemination related to preventions of child marriage, facilitation of disability certificates for persons with disabilities and civil registration of women from marginalized households, religious minorities and transgender persons.

Dr. Yasmin Zaidi, Aawaz II Team Lead, highlighted that more than the British Council believed in inclusive and participatory behaviour change approach for sustainable development. Affan Javed, Senior Programme Manager, shared that the British Council believed in inclusive and participatory behaviour change approach for sustainable development.

The Federal Ombudsperson, Fauzia Viqar, spoke on how “women and other groups in need should reach out to duty bearers not only for redressal but to make government institutions accountable to improve access to service delivery.”