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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Jan 3, 2012

WOMEN FRIENDLY CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM DEMANDED

Over sixty civil society organizations have endorsed a declaration, demanding criminal justice system in the country, sensitive to the cases of violence against women.
The joint declaration drafted to make the criminal justice system more friendly to women, is now ready to be presented to the government, parliamentarians, members of the judiciary, lawyers, police and media, Executive Director Women Organization for Rights and Development (WORD), Aqsa Khan said on Monday.
Talking to APP, she said the criminal justice system of the country is confronted with serious crisis of delayed or no justice having serious repercussions on national and international security and is one of the major contributing factors in increasing violence against women.
She said the declaration was developed by incorporating the viewpoints of legal experts, human rights activists, government and law enforcing agencies and it was agreed that laws should be made equitable and to protect the powerless and marginalized section of society.
The criminal justice system has to be made supportive to women and needs to be looked at deeply that the role of the judiciary, police, government and laws in addressing the gaps and ensure that legislation for women is based on the principles of equality and free of any biases and patriarchal beliefs, Aqsa said.
In the declaration, the rights activists have demanded effective police reforms for reporting, investigations, independent and neutral prosecution mechanisms and an unbiased judiciary that is committed to upholding justice at all levels.
The police stations must be equipped with proper facilities to enable and empower police officers to conduct their duty in dealing with crimes of violence.
Recognizing the right and equality to justice for all, cases of violence especially in rural and tribal areas should be dealt through proper courts and not referred to Jirga Systems (parallel judiciary system), the declaration said.
Women’s Rights Activist, Dr. Farzana Bari, Peace Activist, Dr. Zarina Salamat, Researcher/Activist, Rabia Aslam, Women’s Rights Activist/WAF Member, Nasreen Azhar and Anbreen Ajaib, Gender Experts Rukhsana Rashid and Shazreh Bano have endorsed the declaration.
The organizations which have endorsed the declaration include Acid Survivors Foundation, Insan Foundation Trust, Pattan Development Organization, WORD, Cavish Development Organization, Mehergarh Learning Centre, Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA), Nomad Art Gallery, SEHER, Blue Veins, Shirkatgah, Rutgerswpf, Human Rights Commission for Social Justice & Peace Baluchistan, Rozan, Aurat Foundation, Asar Institution of Woman’s Study Centre Lahore and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)