QUETTA: Women’s rights organisations have called for strict implementation of laws against harassment at all workplaces, saying that 85 per cent institutions, including offices, factories, government departments and private organisations, in Balochistan have not established committees for conducting investigation into harassment complaints.

The demand came from meetings and rallies organised here on Friday to mark the National Women’s Day celebrated in the country on Feb 12 every year. Among the organisations which organised programmes were the Women Action Forum, Women Workers Alliance and Breaking Barriers Women.

A march, which was attended by a large number of women, was organised by the Breaking Barriers Women. The participants marched on different roads and later gathered outside the Quetta Press Club. Carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans, the marchers were chanting slogans in favour of their demands.

Speaking on the occasion, Zara Hassan and others said that it was the responsibility of the state to provide equal rights to women. They said without participation of women no country could achieve its development goals.

Providing equal opportunities of education, health and employment and a conducive and protected environment was a basic right of women in any society, they said, calling for stopping exploitation and discrimination against women.

The Women Action Forum presented a charter of demands in which it urged state institutions to work on legislation for protection of women’s rights.

The other demands included provision of jobs quota, steps for well-being of transgender persons and providing dignified employment to women. It also called for issuing a notification for rules of business and expediting work on the implementation of domestic violence bill.

A policy development and implementation strategy regarding social protection for women home-based workers is also included in the charter of demands.

The charter of demands called for mechanisms for ensuring transparency and merit-based appointments and award nominations.

It was decided in the meeting that Women Protection Cells (divisional level) would be established other than Dar-ul-Aman and Crises Centres where women and children in extremely vulnerable situations could stay for longer periods of time and could resume their normal life.

Establishment of a Women Desk and Juvenile Friendly Spaces at police stations and Levies check posts were among the other demands.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2021

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