Staff Reporter Islamabad
The Ministry of Law and Justice (MoL&J) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a virtual signing ceremony regarding accelerating the implementation of the recent amendments relating to sexual violence in Pakistan.
The rationale of the strategic partnership between Ministry of Law and Justice and the UNFPA is the enforcement of criminal law amendments for sexual violence (rape), securing access to justice, redress and reparation mechanism for the survivors and to advance the rights of women and girls to live free of violence.
Speaking at the occasion, Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Barrister Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem apprised the participants regarding steps taken by the government of Pakistan towards drafting and implementation of Civil as well as Criminal Law Reforms especially to help women and girls in the country.
He thanked UNFPA for extending support to Pakistan for the implementation of amendments related to sexual violence.
He said the ministry was working assiduously for the implementation of the state of the art Anti-Rape Ordinance, which was promulgated few months back.
He told the participants; he would do all that was necessary to ensure there was gender equality in the country.
Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice, Barrister Maleeka Bukhari said the Ministry of Law and Justice was committed to advancing gender equality and empowerment of women and girls and that the Government of Pakistan was appreciative of partnership and support of Partners like UNFPA.
She said the legislation on rape and sexual offences, that was being implemented had been drafted to address the loopholes and lacunae that existed in the past legislation on the issue. She said medico-legal evidence was the key to apprehend the perpetrators of sexual violence.
The Anti-Rape Crisis cells that were being created as a part of the implementation plan would help the victims of sexual violence in many ways. Main focus of the present legislation is to protect the victims.
Special Courts were being established to conduct expeditious trials and protect the victims from continuous suffering, she added.
Ms. Lina Mousa, the Pakistan Country Representative, UNFPA told the participants that UNFPA was actively working with its partners to deal with sexual and gender based violence.
She commended the efforts of the Ministry of Law and Justice for advancement of women rights.
She said actions were needed to ensure that the survivors of SGBV had access to affordable life saving services with the focus of improving their health, education, and attainment of greater justice and wellbeing.
She said UNFPA had been actively supporting a number of initiatives with the government departments and was committed to support the national partners in addressing SGBV through accelerating implementation of existing legal frameworks, creating robust evidence and strengthening institutional capacities to prevent and respond, especially health system’s response to SGBV.
Key areas of support and intervention by UNFPA were also presented during the ceremony.
Secretary Law Raja Naeem Akbar was the signatory to the MoU from the Ministry’s side while Ms. Lena Mousa signed the MoU from UNFPA’s side.