Agreement signed to prevent violence against transgender

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Expressing concerns over the increasing number and severity of reports of individual cases of humiliation of and violence against the transgender community, War Against Rape (WAR) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the transgender organisation Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA) to reduce and prevent such cases.

The MoU will help build mutually beneficial synergies to end oppression and violence against the transgender community, and to provide free litigation services to victims and survivors of sexual violence.

“In the recent past, due to biased, judgmental, discouraging and trans-phobic attitudes, two young transgender — Toffee and Sherly — were refused medical treatment at public hospitals in Karachi; both of them subsequently died because of the denial of their constitutional fundamental health rights,” said WAR in its press release.

Citing media reports, the organisation said that 51 per cent of the Trans persons in Punjab were subjected to mental, physical and sexual abuse in 2020, while 10 per cent were being meted out unfair treatment by government departments.

Globally, 375 Trans persons were murdered in 2021, but WAR believes that this figure is just a small glimpse of the reality on the ground.

WAR said that most of the cases of hate crime, harassment, torture and different forms of sexual violence, assault and murders against transgender go unreported or, crucially, are misreported in the media, meaning that the actual numbers of violence and deaths may be three times higher than reported.

It said sexual and gender-based violence against transgender is under-reported in Pakistan, which is a signatory to various international conventions that demand ending all forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence and discrimination against women, children and trans persons. However, said WAR, transgender continue to face discrimination, violence and persecution, and the authorities in the justice system often fail to safeguard the community or hold the culprits responsible.

Members of the Trans community have been stigmatised and threatened at all levels. The majority in our society treats them as only beggars, dancers or sex workers, considering them lesser humans.

Most of them are rejected and disowned by their own families. As a consequence, they also face severe discrimination in terms of getting jobs, education and even appropriate healthcare facilities.

As part of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018, the state holds the promise to empower transgender, and give them authority and decision-making powers.

However, due to a lack of political will and resources, the state has failed to ensure the safety and protection of Tran’s people, including ensuring a sustainable and lasting impact on their rights.

For instance, the Sindh government had announced in 2019 that it would reserve 0.5 per cent jobs in all government departments for Tran’s people, but not much seems to have transpired since then. WAR demanded that the state should ensure effective implementation of the 2018 law and ensure accountability mechanisms.

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