ASIA/PAKISTAN - 8 March: Christians and Muslims unite to promote more respect for women’s rights

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Lahore (Fides Service) - In Pakistan more attention must be given to ensure that the inalienable rights of women are protected and guaranteed. This call was launched on the occasion of the international Women’s Day by a forum of secular and Christian groups of human rights organisations activists in Pakistan.
In a statement sent to Fides the Commission for Peace and Human Development of Lahore, said that violation of women’s rights and certain discriminatory laws against women affect the situation of women in Pakistan and prevent the country’s authentic economic, social and cultural progress which can only come about with the full participation of women.
Waseem Anthony, head of the Commission told Fides “the wellbeing of women in vital for our country”, quoting article 25 of Pakistan’s constitution which reaffirms article 1 and 2 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which guarantees equal rights for all men and women. Mr Anthony said that the full realisation of this principle is prevented by certain social customs inherited from ancient tribal customs or from the hudud, derived from Islamic law and the practice of the crime of passion. The Commission says that rape is still widespread and tolerated in Pakistan and very often involves the protection and complicity of several men. Pakistan has one of the highest rates of domestic violence against women in the world. Waseem Anthony calls for reforms in the system of police and judiciary.
The Commission, composed of Muslims and Christians is an NGO which works to promote respect for human rights and minority rights. It often works with the Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission.
Precisely the Justice and Peace Commission of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Pakistan issued a statement highlighting and calling government attention to the lack of respect for human rights in Pakistan and in particular the rights and protection of women. The Commission launched a “Justice and Peace Workers Asia-Pacific Forum”, which called on the government to “check violence and discrimination against women”, and take suitable measures to guarantee authentic justice in Pakistan society.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 8/3/2005 righe 24 parole 244)