Saturday July 13, 2024

NCHR organises dialogue to discuss issues faced by HBWs

March 10, 2024
National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) logo. — Facebook/National Commission for Human Rights
National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) logo. — Facebook/National Commission for Human Rights

Islamabad : Extensive discussion was held on issues faced by women Home-based Workers (HBWs) and the collaborative efforts required to solve these issues, at a dialogue held to commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD), said in a press release issued here on Saturday.

The dialogue was organised by THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) partnering with HomeNetPakistan, All Pakistan Women’s Association Multan and Multan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Aligned with this year’s theme of IWD ‘Invest in Women: Accelerates Progress, the Multi-stakeholder’s Dialogue on Investing in Pakistan Home-Based Workers for Accelerated Progress Towards Gender Equality’ was aimed at discussing the multi stakeholder approach required for real-world outcomes for the right holders.

The speakers at the dialogue highlighted the fact that in Pakistan, home-based workers face a myriad of challenges amidst a backdrop of widespread human rights and labour violations, particularly prevalent in the informal economy.

They said that this sector is rife with forced or bonded labour, child labour, gender-based discrimination and a pervasive lack of adherence to labour standards, exacerbated by the absence of an enabling environment for women’s equal participation in the economy.

It was shared that the informal nature of employment in Pakistan including in the textile sector which is Pakistan’s largest export industry, from cotton picking to manufacturing, leaves informal workers vulnerable to exploitation, as they lack legal protection and are often arbitrarily dismissed without recourse.

Speaking on this occasion, Chairperson NCHR Rabiya Javeri Agha stressed the need to empower women home-based workers so that they can claim their rights as well as redress if their rights are violated.

She said that NCHR is working on the empowerment of women and this event was the first of the series of skilled awareness raising education and also is the part of the NCHR''s initiative of business and human rights.

She ensured Commissions complete support for protection of the home-based women workers.

The speakers said that home-based workers, predominantly women, endure excessive working hours, hazardous conditions, and exploitative relationships with intermediator contractors resulting in income well below the national minimum wage.

They said that these challenges underscore an urgent need for comprehensive reforms to safeguard the rights and dignity of home-based workers in Pakistan’s business landscape.

Findings of a study titled ‘Homeworkers in Garment Supply Chain’ conducted by HomeNet SouthAsia was also shared at the event.

The study was conducted with 110 women homeworkers (HWs) in Karachi in the year 2022. The survey showed that 83 percent of HBWs complained of eye strain or headache followed by back pain and neck/shoulder pain, cuts and wounds from needle, hip/leg pain and a feeling of tiredness and sadness.

Around 76 per cent said they didn’t take any protective measures.

Average monthly income of these workers was Rs6545, as compared to minimum monthly wage of Rs19000 as per Sindh government.