Ayesha Taslim, Director Program of Depilex Smileagain Foundation participated as a guest panelist from Pakistan in the side event: Reassessing Women’s Rights in Pakistan, held in the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Moderated by Maria Munoz Maraver of Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) the event shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of the review of Pakistan’s report on the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR}.
The context setting on the situation of women’s human rights in Pakistan recognize that Pakistan has made some meaningful progress in women’s rights and laws protecting women from domestic violence as well as acid burn crimes have been passed. But the laws that are in place are not implemented or have such meager penalties that there is no deterrent to break them.
Ayesha Taslim went on to offer recommendations to help remedy the problems in Pakistan. In terms of addressing state laws and procedures she suggested that police should be trained in gender sensitivity, the sale of pure acid should be banned.
Furthermore, she suggested that the international community could help by limiting arms sales to the region, especially when they are known for falling in the hands of civilians and terrorists and terrorizing women both within the household and in the streets.
Overall, this event gave a more nuanced picture of the status of women in Pakistan than what was presented by the official delegation headed by Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Foreign affairs Government of Pakistan. Keeping an eye on all sides of the issues can help guide us in taking steps in the future.