Walking the talk: Nine awardees receive recognition for endeavours to end violence against women and girls

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ISLAMABAD – As the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign kicked off across the globe, UN Women Pakistan and the Swedish Embassy in Pakistan celebrated champions who have played their part in accelerating efforts to end violence against women and girls in the past year.

The event titled ‘2020 in retrospective – Celebrating Pledges Made to End Violence Against Women was held on Friday 26th November in Islamabad and was attended by government officials, diplomats and other development partners.

While welcoming the guests at the auspicious ceremony, the Swedish Ambassador appreciated the concerted efforts of stakeholders to stand against gender-based violence. He added,“No country is unaffected. Gender-based violence is found everywhere. Clear policies, legislation and changes of attitude are necessary. The self-evident right of women, girls to decide over their own bodies is being challenged. It must be defended.”

In 2020, under the global theme of “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” UN Women Pakistan encouraged participants to make commitments for ending violence against women, and a number of pledges were received by our partners to bridge funding gaps, show political will for calling for an end to violence, and ensure essential services for survivors of violence.

To appreciate the commitments and actions taken on pledges made, nine awards were presented to awardees from the Federal Capital, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh. These include: Ms. Amna Baig, Assistant Superintendent of Islamabad Police; Mr. Asad Qaiser, Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan; Mr. Hayat Ali Shah, Director General, Federal Judicial Academy; Ms. Munazza Hassan, Secretary Women Parliamentary Caucus; Ms. Rukhshanda Naz, Ombudsperson for Protection Against Harassment at the Workplace Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Ms. Nuzhat Shirin, Chairperson, Sindh Commission on the Status of Women; Ms. Sabira Islam, Ombudsperson for Protection Against Harassment at the Workplace Balochistan; Mr. Umair Khan, Communications Specialist at TransPeshawar; Mr. Zafar Buledi, Secretary, Women Development Department, Balochistan.

Ms. Sharmeela Rassool, Country Representative UN Women, applauded the meaningful steps taken by the awardees in solidarity for ending violence against women and girls.  She said “We haven’t responded to the shadow pandemic of violence against women in a way we have responded to the current pandemic of Covid-19.  Without us acting together, we will not be able to end this grave violation of human’s rights. I appeal to all women and girls, men and boys to be the voice of the voiceless, break the cycle of violence and don’t just be a passive bystander.”

Mr. Inamullah, Secretary Human Rights, as the chief guest of the ceremony said “Domestic violence acts have been promulgated by all four provincial governments. The Ministry of Human Rights has also introduced domestic (prevention and protection) Bill, 2021 which has been under consideration by the Parliament. Sensitization and awareness raising of public is one of the regular features to end violence against women.”

To symbolize hope and a brighter future for women, UN Women Global Ambassador, Ms. Muniba Mazari recited a poem ‘Still I rise’ by Maya Angelou. The event ended with a celebratory performance by Ms. Natasha Humera Ejaz, a singer and songwriter from Islamabad and members of UN Women Pakistan team.

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