Friday March 01, 2024

KP Lawyers for Rights Network launched

By Bureau report
December 05, 2023

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Lawyers for Rights Network lwas aunched here on Monday to extend free legal aid to women and transgender communities.

A non-governmental organisation, Da Hawwa Lur, took the initiative to help the women and transgender persons surviving gender-based violence. A function was arranged at KP Ombudsperson Secretariat to mark the launching of the network.

Present on the occasion were 30 lawyers selected for the network drawn from Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera and Mardan, District Bar Association office-bearers, government officials and transgender community activists.

Participants sit during the launching ceremony of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Lawyers for Rights Network on December 2, 2023. — Facebook/DA Hawwa LUR
Participants sit during the launching ceremony of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Lawyers for Rights Network on December 2, 2023. — Facebook/DA Hawwa LUR

Ombudsperson KP for Protection of Women from Harassment at the Workplace, Rukhshanda Naz was the chief guest. Khurshid Bano, Chief Executive Officer of Da Hawwa Lur, outlined the motives behind establishing the network and the process involved.

“The volunteer work and social activism have been left far behind. We want to revive activism through this network so that the legal protection mechanism is strengthened and the access of the vulnerable communities such as women and Khwaja Siras to justice is enhanced,” she said.

She further added that the women lawyers members of the network were recommended by the representatives of the bar associations of the four targeted districts. “ These selected lawyers were trained in pro-women legislations such as anti-harassment act, property rights act and domestic violence act as well as the act that seeks to protect the transgendered persons” she elaborated.

Khurshid Bano said the policies, services and programmes already in place for the women and the transgender community were part of the capacity building trainings conducted in the four districts.

Shawana Shah, Programme Manager, Da Hawwa Lur, said her organisation was already extending psycho-legal support services to the vulnerable communities in Peshawar. “This aim of launching this nework was to take these services to districts ensuring the accessibility in native areas and establishing points of contact. The network has been established to build a liaison with the district bar associations and to link them to relevant institutions for addressal of the cases,” she explained. She also added that the organisational mission of women empowerment remains at the core of the network launching by providing women in law with the opportunities, such as connecting them to the national and international forums.

Rukhshanda Naz, dwelt at the history of the domestic violence act and said that it was the fruit of the 28 years long struggle of the women rights activists. Supporting the initiative of Da Hawwa Lur for the network, she said the domestic violence act requires for establishing District Protection Committees. “I have been asked by the Social Welfare Department to nominate women lawyers for the committees, she added. She expressed interest in considering network members for these committees.

Tariq Afridi, President of Peshawar High Court Bar Association, commended the introduction of the women lawyers’ network in KP, stressing upon the importance of providing equal opportunities for women in law. He assured continued support from the bar association to facilitate and empower women lawyers in addressing societal issues.

National Commission on Human Rights Regional Coordinator Rizwanullah Khan explained the Commission’s role in monitoring human rights and intervening when rights are violated. He extended full cooperation to the network, emphasizing the need for collective efforts in protecting human rights. Transgender community representative and president of Manzil Foundation, was all praise for Da Hawwa Lur for services including awareness raising on their rights and helping them raise their issues at various forums. “I hope the network will help amplify our voice and facilitate access to the relevant institutions to address our issues,” she added.