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November 18, 2011

Perpetrators use arms in 80% cases of violence against women


November 18, 2011

Raising serious questions regarding the free availability of small arms in the country, a survey conducted by a local civil society organisation says that in almost 80% cases of violence against women the perpetrators use small arms to torture or kill the victims.
The findings were shared by a representative of a national NGO Awaz Foundation at a two-day multilateral consultative workshop titled ‘Towards Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report 2012,’ organised by the Ministry of Human Rights in collaboration with the United Nations.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process, which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006.
The consultation was organized to capture shared experience, voice and wisdom that feed into the Ministry of Human Rights’ forthcoming crucial undertaking of reviewing the status of Human Rights in terms of policy, implementation and access in the country.
Participants of the consultation including civil society representatives and senior government officials had a detailed discussion about the process that involves UPR report writing and gave their feedback on Pakistan progress on several international human right treaties signed by the government in the past.
The pointed out gaps in the legislation and said that lack of implementation of the existing laws actually facilitates the offenders of human rights. The also discussed the pending legislations and stressed the responsible departments to come up with more clarity on issues related to human rights after devolution. They suggested that more such consultations should be held at the provincial level with participation from district and tehsil level.
The termed the Lady Health Workers (LHW) scheme as progress on part of Pakistan in providing basic health facilities for women but said that since it has made a provincial chapter

after devolution, the project has suffered a lot due to non availability of funds.
Highlighting certain discriminations that exist within the constitution, they pointed out that under law, the minorities cannot be the judge or lawyer in the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) but their cases can be heard in the same court.
In addition to that, the law of evidence does not consider the testimony of minority person. Similarly, the Pakistani government gives nationality to the children born out of foreign husband but not to the husband.
Speaking at the opening session, Advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar expressed vowed to make report factual and objective reflecting the state of human rights in a realistic manner. The closing session was chaired by Secretary Ministry of Human Rights Batool Iqbal Qureshi Pakistan is a signatory of numerous human rights treaties. The Ministry of Human Rights is in the process of preparing its first report on Convention against Torture (CAT) ratified by Pakistan in 2010.
Another treaty ratified by Pakistan in June 2010 was International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As a matter of rule, the ratifying state has to submit an initial report of human rights in the county to the UN. This is the first report that the Ministry of Human Rights is going to prepare in fulfilling international commitment.
Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists. The UPR is one of the key elements that remind states of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.

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