ISLAMABAD: The UN Women and Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly has signed an MoU to raise awareness and policy advocacy for legislation to end child marriages and women trafficking in the province, including the new districts of former Fata.
Signed by UN Women Pakistan Country Representative Jamshed Kazi and WPC Chairperson Maliha Asgher Ali Khan, the MoU focuses on joint efforts for promulgation and implementation of pro-women laws with the first and foremost efforts on awareness-raising and advocacy for legislations.
The UN Women will support WPC on gender research, drafting gender sensitive laws, developing position papers, resolutions, declarations and reports.
Signed by UN Women and Women Parliamentary Caucus, MoU focuses on joint efforts for promulgation and implementation of pro-women laws
Besides, both the bodies will work together for capacity building of local government representatives, WPC members, parliamentarians and political parties to understand better the challenges faced to advance gender equality and undertake concerted efforts to overcome those challenges.
The women MPAs lauded the beginning of joint efforts aimed at upgrading the status of women in KP.
“The partnership will help us build capacities of various government entities and the community in general and advance gender equality agenda of the provincial government,” said Maliha Khan, a PTI MPA.
Jamshed Kazi said UN Women and WPC would be drafting and promoting gender sensitive laws for KP.
“The Child Marriage Restraint Act of KP is an important legislation that we will prioritise to jointly review and advocate for child marriage remains prevalent in Pakistan and is a grave violation of fundamental human rights,” he said.
He added that research indicated that 21 per cent of girls were married before the age of 18 and three per cent before 15. These important facts have made this a key direction for us to focus on the areas of human rights in Pakistan.
“Our vision and mission is ideally aligned to together undertake important initiatives to improve the situation of women and girls’ rights and empowerment in KP,” he said.
UN Women has worked with WPC in the past to finalise the KP Women Empowerment Policy Framework and mainstream gender concerns in two draft bills of Internal Human Trafficking Bill and Home-Based Workers Bill.
The UN Women is the United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
It supports the federal and provincial governments to attain gender equality and works closely with the government, civil society and other stakeholders to design laws, policies, programmes and frameworks needed to achieve women’s empowerment and to protect the social, economical and legal rights of women, girls and excluded groups.
The Women Parliamentary Caucus- KP has been established with an objective to strengthen the voice of women legislators in the provincial assembly through a united platform and put in joint efforts for debate and legislation on pro-women laws in the provincial assembly.
Other members of the WPC-KP are Ayesha Bano, general secretary, Dr Sumaira Shams and Humera Khatoon, members.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2019