Clear politics, legislation needed to safeguard women from violence: Swedish envoy

Published November 30, 2022
Award recipients  and dignitaries pose for a photograph at the ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday. — White Star
Award recipients and dignitaries pose for a photograph at the ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Clear politics and legislation are required in connection with violence against women and girls so they are able to live their lives freely and this can only be done when men are engaged in this process.

This was pointed out by Swedish Ambassador Henrik Persson at an award ceremony.

The Embassy of Sweden and United Nations (UN) Women Pakistan hosted an award ceremony ‘2021 in Retrospective – Celebrating Action to End Violence Against Women’ at the Swedish envoy’s residence.

The awards appreciate the commitments and actions taken on pledges made in 2021, under the global theme of ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!’.

The commitments included pledges to bridge funding gaps, show political will for calling for an end to violence and ensure essential services for survivors of violence.

Henrik Persson welcomed the guests, saying: “Sweden and UN Women of course share fundamental commitments towards gender equality. Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights violation around the world. It knows no social or economic borders, no country is unaffected, it affects the rich and the poor.

“The right of women and girls to live their lives free from violence and abuse outside and inside their homes is being challenged. We need clear politics, we need legislation, we also need change in attitudes and behaviour and above all else, we need action – that is why events like this are so important.”

He added: “We are here to celebrate achievements made since last year and hope that those will inspire more. We will never be able to prevent violence against women and girls without engaging men. We need to engage more men who are willing to publicly speak and act to oppose violence against women and girls and create a ripple effect.”

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Muniba Mazari recited a poem at the event dedicated to all men and women striving to end gender-based violence. She said: “Unfortunately, we live in a world where violence prevails and then silence prevails and this is why humanity is failing.”

UN Women’s country representative Sharmeela Rasool and Swedish first secretary Lotta Segerström Tejpar narrated the stories of victims of violence including that of a teenage girl who was sexually abused and murdered by an employer and a second wife who was burnt with acid and abandoned.

Celebrating a diverse set of individuals whose efforts contribute towards bringing about a safer, more just and violence-free world for all women and girls, awards were presented to more than 20 stakeholders.

Those given awards from Punjab included retired Capt Saqib Zafar, Additional Chief Secretary (South Punjab) Nosheen Malik, Secretary Services and General Administration Department, South Punjab, Sumaira Samad, Secretary Women Development Punjab, Nada Aazhar, Secretary Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, Abubakar Nouman, Deputy Director, CPD Public Prosecution Department, Punjab, and Kamran Adil, Deputy Inspector General of Police-Trainings.

The nominees from Balochistan were Azmat Hassan Baloch, Girls Guide Association Balochistan, Syed Sikandar Shah, Secretary Women Development Department and Sabira Islam, ex-provincial ombudsperson (Balochistan).

The award recipients from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were Moazzam Jah Ansari, IG KP police, Dr Quraish Khan, AIG Training, KP police, Ms Naghmana, additional secretary H&T Affairs, Fatima Nazish, journalist and Dr Sumera Shams. Award recipients from Sindh were Qasim Soomro, parliamentary health secretary, Shumaila Siddiqui, additional secretary (home), Shahla Qureshi, AIG gender and human rights, Dr Summiya Tariq, police surgeon (Karachi) and Kalpna Devi, additional advocate general.

The recipients from the capital included Mehnaz Aziz, parliamentary secretary, Syed Fareed Ali, DIG (law and order), Rummel Akram, DIG (safe city), Omer Hamid Khan, secretary, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Maria Mehmood, (SSP), ICT police.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022

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