16 Days of Activism

25th NOVEMBER -10th DECEMBER 2012

Background and significance

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991.
Participants chose the dates November 25- International Day Against Violence Against Women- and December 10- International Human Rights Day- in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.
This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including

November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day,
December 1, World AIDS Day, and
December 6, this marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre
December 10, International Human Right Day

The efforts of women right protection in Pakistan had been quite effective in Pakistan where campaign actions had contributed a positive role. Year 2012 being the election year and 16 days of activism may contribute significantly to protection and safety of women and girls from all forms of violence and discrimination.
16 Days of Activisim

There had been very strong mobilization and advocacy on ending violence against women by women rights protection networks at micro, meso and macro level such as EVAW alliance, We Can Campaign, Mumkin Alliance, Women Action Forum, Joint Action Committee and Legislative Watch Groups. The forthcoming 16 days of activism campaign is providing a space to bring in synergy of all forums and networks to create a combined effect and generate political commitment for women right protection especially when the election campaign in underway.    

At the same time it is also important to synergize the local efforts for women right protection to the global community. With this aim, representatives from EVAW alliance, UN Women, DFID, AAWAZ consortium partners build a consensus on the national theme of 16 days campaign in Pakistan. Thus under the global theme i.e

From Peace in the home to Peace in the world”.

The campaign in Pakistan will be undertaken with the thematic focus on:

"Safety at Home, Public and Work Spaces”

The campaign will be undertaken by civil society organizations, networks and allies each having independent ways to bring in innovation as appropriate to the theme. Some proposed networks are EVAWG alliance, IHI, We can Campaign, Men Engaged, Women Action Forum, Legislative Watch Group and many other at provincial and district level. Media engagements will be used as communication strategy of the campaign.
Campaign focus:
Under the local theme, it is proposed that following will be the areas for campaign actions, leaving space for organizations/networks to adopt innovative ways of campaign actions;
1.          Legislation

Year 2012 being election year keep strategic importance with regard to pending legislation on women’s right protection.  The campaign days thus be strategically planned to lobby with the government by appreciating the previous achievements and demanding consolidation of initiated efforts (pending legislation such as Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill and Domestic Violence Bill).

Instead of holding seminars, protests and rallies, it will be wise to hold special meetings with policy makers (MNAs, MPAs, senators, and relevant ministries, political party representatives) for pushing for approval of these pending legislations. These special meeting should be a series of meetings continued through 16 days.

2.         Political Empowerment of women

The second component that should be highlighted during this years’ campaign is women’s political empowerment. Under this component two sub themes are suggested:

·         Protection for right to vote
·         Gender responsive political party manifesto

3.         Safe Access of Girl Children to Education

Under the overarching local theme of safety, girls’ safe access to education needs to be focused.  Thus raising demand for conducive environment within and outside schools is another area of attention during the campaign.

Working norms/values:
Ø  All participating organizations/networks should all be acting in synergy
Ø  All solidarity actions must ensure a holistic, inclusive, participatory and well coordinated approach
Ø  All campaign actions should maintain the focus keeping in view the respective organizational strategies of doing campaign.
To bring in synergy and sharing purpose all participating organizations are proposed to share their plans as per following matrix which will help in promoting joint actions, ensure efficient utilization of time and resources.  

Envisioning Model Police Stations Demand for Anti Torture Legislation in Pakistan

Envisioning Model Police Stations
Demand for Anti Torture Legislation in Pakistan

Strengthen Participatory Organization (SPO) in collaboration with Oxfam GB organized a seminar on “Envisioning Model Police Stations: Demand for anti torture legislation” at Margalla hotel Islamabad on 18th September 2012.
Envisioning Model Police Station
Addressing the seminar, Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Mr. Ashfaq Ahmad explained the process of establishing of Model Police Stations across province and highlighted the various aspects of the idea. He told the participants that this initiative was taken to improve the performance of police department so that it could become a symbol of help and protection. The specially designed buildings of such police stations will ensure a comfortable zone for complainants. He briefed the participants that Govt. of Punjab initially planned establishment of 100 model police stations, to be set up in 36 districts of the province but later the number was reduced to 50 Police stations because of the shortage of funds.
Deputy Legislator Advisor Mr. Raja Naeem Akbar, representative of Ministry of Law & Justice told in his speech that in the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, fundamental rights are already protected from any kind of torture from police or jail official so, if Human Rights Division , NGO's or  other segments of society bring this proposal then they make appropriate changes to cater for this situation.
Assistant Director Mr. Kashif Ali, representative of Federal Ministry of Human Rights said it is the right of every citizen of the country to be treated with dignity and respect by the law enforcement agencies. He also mentioned that being the focal ministry on Convention Against Torture (CAT) implementation, the ministry has taken initiative to introduce anti torture legislation and we are already in the process of holding consultation meetings with all stake holders and draft bill will be soon finalized.
Mr. Shafique from PCHR said that it is the responsibility of state to provide protection from any type of torture by law enforcement agencies and make appropriate legislation to eradicate torture during custody.
At the end, SPO representative Mr. Haroon Hussain culminated the anti torture week and presented the petition of 1 hundred thousand individuals for demanding anti Torture legislation.

Society calls for implementing women protection laws

The Punjab government is determined to implement effectively the domestic violence bill after its passage from the assembly, and is encouraging pro-women legislation, said Adviser to the Chief Minister Begum Zakia Shahnawaz while addressing a seminar titled “Law Enforcement for Pro-Women Legislation and Domestic Violence Bill”. The seminar was organised by Mumkin, an alliance of 18 civil-society organisations of Punjab, to end violence against women.
Women Protection Forum

 The seminar urged both government and civil society organisations to work in partnership in order to reinforce implementation of pro-women legislation. Hina Hafeezullah Ishaq of Nasreen Trust, while speaking on the occasion, highlighted various clauses of the domestic violence bill and its provisions, punishments and central demand for survivors of violence. She called upon the government to take proper action to protect the vulnerable persons, irrespective of gender. Acid Survivor Foundation President Valerie Khan stressed the need to adopt law-enforcement mechanisms for pro-women legislation. Vulnerable persons who were the victims of domestic violence, especially women, had to face a lot of problems to get the cases registered in the police station, she said. Punjab Bar Council President Rana Muhammad Asif Saeed highlighted the various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code regarding family disputes and domestic violence. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan General Secretary IA Rehman said that the government should be persuaded to implement the laws effectively. He said it was the duty of the civil society to play its role to get the laws implemented. South Asia Partnership Executive Director Muhammad Tehsin said that women’s rights had to be honoured by every citizen of the country and the government should not leave any stone unturned to achieve good results in this regard.

Women Protection Forum (WPF)

Oxfam GB, in collaboration with Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) and South Asia Partnership (SAP), has introduced a project addressing women torture in custody. Under the project, women protection forum (WPF), comprising lawyers, police, doctors, civil society, women leaders and politicians, has been formed. WPF will be a district based body, based in Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi. The project aims at creating awareness and improving the observance of women rights in Pakistan. It also serves to prevent and eradicate torture and ill treatment of women in police custody and in shelter homes and jails, and in assisting and rehabilitating women torture survivors in the society.

Women Protection Forum
 Around 70 percent of the project’s activities would be focused on prevention of such cases, while the remaining 30 percent of the activities would be focused on the rehabilitation of women. The context of this forum is a number of points. These include the growing number of incidents of torture and HR violations, sexual violence, which is seldom reported, and no legislation concerning torture. In the last 10 years, about 10,421 cases of torture in custody have been reported in Pakistan. There are several which go unreported too. The project aims at: gender sensitisation of law enforcement agencies, creation of accessible and facilitative environment for women and rehabilitation of women torture survivors.