On Sunday 8th March in Faisalabad, Pakistan, Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) in collaboration with Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD) observed International Women’s Day 2020 with the UN theme for International Women’s Day 2020, “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.
Women from minority communities, female leaders, students, teachers, lawyers, political workers, CSOs representatives and different stake holders were invited to participate and discuss current challenges facing women. They also worked on how to create a safe and secure atmospheres for minority women.
The speakers shared the UN agenda 2030 of sustainable development goals; the fifth of which specifically focuses on how to achieve gender equality, empowering all women and girls and the UN vision to “Leave No One Behind”.
Naveed Walter, President of HRFP, said that today the emerging global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world particularly gender equality is a big challenge. Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and cultures. Women and girls continue to be undervalued; they work more and earn less and have fewer choices; and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces. There is a significant threat of rollback of hard-won feminist gains.
Pakistan is amongst those countries which are the worst performing for the empowerment of women. Women from minority communities are more depressed and highly discriminated against in education, health, economics, political participation and in every field of life. Women from minority communities are also an easy target of abductions, forced conversions and forced marriages. These alarming issues are becoming worst day by day. Approximately 1000 women and girls from minority communities are facing such human rights violations a year. HRFP and GHRD fully supported the campaign of Aurat March (Women’s March) and condemned the resistance by some against women’s rights campaigns.
Speakers Saba Emmanuel,Venus Sohail, Cherubina Nadeem, James Lal, Manzoor Anthony, Diya Masih,Laiba Nadeem, John Victor, Sadaf Shadman, Nida Naeem and others said there is a dire need to work with women and girls to address their security issues. Being from minority communities, living in poverty, lack of education, oppressed in society and at work places, these women and girls are incredibly vulnerable.
Dr. Fareeha Naeem Youth Coordinator of HRFP discussed the resources available for legal and moral needs during human rights violations and for women’s empowerment. She said by raising awareness and continued efforts, increasing opportunities could be gained for women and girls from minority communities. She invited participants to become a volunteer to help other Minority women/girls as individuals and to become a part of newly formed network for Empowering Minority Women.
Shadman John and Nadeem Walter thanked to the participants and said the event organized by HRFP and GHRD aimed to bring together all the stake holders who are instrumental in creating a space for marginalized Minority Women.
The Women’s Day celebration ended with a street demonstration. The women and men involved carried signs and chanted slogans about Women Rights, Minority Women Rights, Gender Equality, Women’s Protection and Justice. The core recommendations proposed during the event were sent to the authorities, decisions makers and media.