ASIA/PAKISTAN - Death of Razia Joseph, Catholic human rights activist

Friday, 19 January 2018 human rights   women   religious minorities   religious freedom   violence  


Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides) - The funeral of Razia Joseph, a Catholic woman and human rights activist, who died on January 17 in Faisalabad, will be held at 3 pm local time. The woman was founder and director of the "Woman shelter organization", a shelter for abandoned women, victims of mistreatment and abuse, forced to marriage or scarred with acid. "Her example is precious: she did a lot to protect Pakistani women who are victims of physical and moral violence: and we need this commitment in Pakistan, we thank God for giving her to us", said to Agenzia Fides Fr. Emmanuel Parvez, Catholic priest of Faisalabad, who collaborated with the woman.
As Fides learns, starting from 1997, in the structure created by Razia Joseph hundreds of women, Christians, Muslims and Hindus, who escaped violence were welcomed and where they received material, psychological, spiritual and legal support.
Razia Joseph, 60 years of which over 38 spent taking care of the poorest, especially women and children. She denounced crimes against the defenseless and worked to overcome discrimination. Despite numerous threats received over the years and her poor health, she never stepped back.
In December 2017, she had managed to plead her case in Brussels against a hundred European parliamentarians. Political commitment was not foreign to her, so much so that she had been elected in the Pakistani Parliament, where she had just stayed for a year, 2011, because - he explained - "there were no conditions to change things. I fought for women's rights, but without success". She then began developing new projects with her organization, where there is a team of educators, trainers and volunteers who will now continue her deserving work.
The "Woman shelter organization" founded by Razia Joseph ranges a lot as far as social interventions are concerned. For the children the association founded a small primary school that welcomes the poorest pupils in the area. The courses of schooling for working children are also significant, in particular the so-called "brick makers", producers of clay bricks. The initiative involved a thousand in four years.
For women, the most recent news are training programs for midwives, who since 2000 have provided basic obstetrics skills to about 500 young women. The projects in favor of the education of women also concern other professional sectors: embroidery and sewing courses... (as used in Pakistan), and computer science. Approximately 4,500 women have benefited from it.
There are many who admired and supported her pastoral and social commitment in Pakistan but also in European countries. (AF) (Agenzia Fides, 19/1/2018)