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September 1, 2018
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Plight of internally displaced persons highlighted

National

September 1, 2018

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Islamabad: Absence of any national policy and legal framework to address the issues of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in line with guiding principles of United Nations is the main reason for invisibility and plight of IDPs living in Punjab.

The issue was discussed extensively at the launch of the report titled ‘Shattered Souls: Internally Displaced Women from Punjab, Pakistan’ by Women’s Regional Network (WRN). The report is written by women’s rights activist and development professional Saima Jasam. The report launch was part of a larger series of launches happening across the member countries including Pakistan, India and Afghanistan as well as across cities in Pakistan.

This report is focused on displaced women from different parts of all four provinces of Pakistan, mostly KP who are settled in Punjab. The WRN used “Community Conversations”- as a tool to reach out to conflict affected women in this case — IDP women from Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and some districts of Punjab displaced as a result of religious extremism/militancy or ethnic and sectarian conflict now residing in Punjab Province.

The Community Conversations also highlight displaced women’s marginality in a new environment as well as their concerns and perspectives on issues of militarisation, security, peace and justice. Their fears, insecurities, priorities, and most importantly their roles as peacemakers in rebuilding their families and communities, formed the basis of the discussions.

The recommendations of the report are aimed at bringing the concerns of women to the forefront and are being used by those involved in humanitarian response, civil society and other actors working with displaced persons. The report will also be used as an advocacy tool to build relationships with state actors to better address the needs of displaced women.

While sharing the report findings, Saima Jasam shared parts of the touching interviews she took during her research. She termed National Identity Cards as the biggest issue faced by the IDPs. “They fail to qualify for any welfare activities as majority doesn’t possess the CNIC,” she said. She said the settled population never accepts IDPs and consider them a threat to their area and resources. She said that IDP’s from minority section face double discrimination and seclusion.

She urged state to ensure basic human rights for minority population while highlighting gross human rights violations of minority women IDPs. She also suggested the state to conduct fair assessment while calculating compensation for IDP’s and include women IDPs in all kind of policy making and implementation mechanisms. She also recommended the civil society to advocate and lobby for the rights of IDP women.

Others who spoke on this occasion include Sardar Kalyan Singh, Dr Jennefir Bennett and Rukhshanda Naz. They said that it was the responsibility of state to take care of the population displaced from one part of the country to another.

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