Save the World for Our Children

Being the most vulnerable segment of society, anywhere in the world, children are always the first ones to be harmed and the last ones to be heard.

This sad fact was acknowledged in the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session on Children (UNGASS), in May 2002. The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, acknowledged that the world has not been able to fulfil the commitments made in the World Summit for Children in 1990.

About 300 children from all over the world were given an opportunity to participate I the children’s forum, held on this landmark event. Nearly 70 heads of states also attended the session.

Though this event provided a chance to the children from all over the world to be in limelight for the few days, like the World Summit on Children (WSC) held in 1990, the action plan sets forth ambitious goals without determining means to get there. Most of the recommendations made in the WSC have not been implemented even after 12 years, mainly because of cruel economic environment. After the WSC, member countries prepared End of Decade reports and a Draft Outcome document was compiled last year, which was pivotal in the deliberations that took place during the Special Session.

The agreed Plan of Action envisaged in the outcome document describes,

“A world fit for children is one in which all children get the best possible start in life; have access to quality basic education, including primary education that is compulsory and available free to all; and that all children, including adolescents have ample opportunity to develop their individual capacities in a safe and supportive environment. We will promote the physical, psychological, social and spiritual, emotional, cognitive and cultural development of children as a matter of national and global priorities”.

 

This is for sure the situation which all of us want for our children. But the ground realities are different. In particularly developing countries, international pressures combined with economic circumstances and social conditions are undermining the crucial role of governments, society and parents to ensure those children grown up in a safe, stable and nurturing environment.

Children need food, shelter, education, health and physical and emotional security not only for their survival, but also for their development. In contrast, for a majority of children, free health and education services along with food and shelter still are a luxury. The 1990s was a decade of great promises but modest achievements for the children of the world. But critical challenges remained unmet, mainly because the resources that were promised at international and national levels did not materialize. According to UNICEF, today there are 600 million children who live in poverty, which is the root cause of the insecurity and is threatening the development of children around the world. At the same time, ten million children die each year, deaths, most of which can be prevented.

Less than five mortality rate has increased in 14 countries and remained unchanged in 11 countries, mainly inSouth Asiaand Sub-Saharan Africa. Diarrhoea, being one of the most widespread causes of children’s death while the fatal polio, is still endemic in 20 countries of the world. At the same time, 150 million children in this world suffer from malnutrition. InPakistan, one in three children, under five years of age, is malnourished which contributes to childhood deaths and reduces the physical and mental capacities of children. Globally, 100 million children, don’t go to school 60 percent of them girls.

Similarly as a result of armed conflicts and foreign occupations, children are subjected to unnatural deaths, injuries and displacement. In 1990s 2 million children died as a result of armed conflict. Six million were permanently disabled or seriously injured and 20 million were displaced or became refugees. The recommendations, made in Outcome report, to find an end to all this suffering, seeks help of the international economic and security situation, which is unrealistic.

Pakistan’s End of the Decade report has stated economic and resource constraints and regional security environment among the foremost constraints.Pakistan, which is still striving to achieve a threshold of development and economic strength, faces ups and downs in its economy. The debt burden assumed alarming proportions with the external and domestic debt reaching 97.5% of country’s GDP. At the same time, the growth rate dipped as low as 1.7% in 1997.

Repeated devaluation in the rupee adversely affected the amount devoted to development projects. Then there were economic sanctions, which targetedPakistanin the developed world. Under such conditions how a country likePakistancould be expected to mobilize its resource? In the education sector, allocations are a mere 2 % of the GDP even less than minimum of 4% prescribed by UNESCO. How can idea of a free universal primary education of good quality be expected?

Similar conditions can be found in other countries also. And the economic environment is going deteriorate even further in wake of changing trends in the world like globalization and WTO. The NGO ‘Save the Children’ fund followed the EU’s stance on WTO and showed its concern in the report, “The Wrong Model: GAT, trade liberalization and children’s right to health”. The report, with the help of leaked documents of European Commission’s secret WTO negotiations, has proved that corporate interests inEuropeare being given priority over the health needs of children and their families. Even the European Commission has publicly stated that it sees WTO as “first and foremost an instrument for the benefit of business” whereas international trade negotiations should be first and foremost an instrument to promote development, poverty reduction, and a better future for the people of world.

If international bodies and forums aim to achieve realistic and applicable solutions to the problems of children, then they will have to be seen in the perspective of economic realities of the poor countries. None of the parents and children wants to opt for child labor if severe economic realities do not force them to do so. The UN needs to draw commitments from the developed world. International policies related to economy must not force the already crushed economies of the developing countries to face a situation where the vulnerable segments of population become victim of harsh realities, which are beyond their control.

Both the governments and international institutions must make mandatory commitments for the betterment of children. (Jalazai, 2004)

Child Rights and Child Labor Global Negligence

Child is a potential man and has all the qualities of developing flowering and fructifying. Physically he is a man in miniature, mentally he is inquisitive and receptive, morally be knows how to respect his elders and obey the parents; and spiritually he is elevated enough because of his innocence which is untarnished. Man can become the “Caption of his soul and master of destiny” only if he; has been properly trained tamed, guided and allowed to develop.

In the global perspective during the last 15 years, states have focused their attention in crediting of poverty and the promotion of gender equality, peace, sustainable development and securing rights of children. States nascent articulation can be seen more effectively in protecting global child rights and enforcement mechanism for early end of child labour. But sill no region of the world is completely free from children labour and it has taken the shape of a global challenge today.

Though, mostly prevalent in the under-developed regions ofAsia,AfricaandLatin America, child labour also exists in rich industrialized countries. According to the ILO, more than 95 percent of all child workers live in developing countries, hi some regions, as many as 25 percent of children between the gases of 10 and 14 are estimated to be working.

Although authentic figures are difficult to get, available in formation reveals that certain countries likeBangladesh,India, andPakistan.Turkey,Egypt,Kenya,Nigeria,Senegal,Argentina,Brazil,Mexico,ItalyandPortugalhave comparatively higher rates of economic activity amongst children. These children are working generally in seasonal job activities, street trades, and small workshops are in a home setting, as well as in agriculture farms.

Asiaaccounts for more than 50 percent of the world’s child laborers who constitute as much as 17 percent of the overall child force in some countries. In thePhilippines, 45 million children work legally and illegally in factories, farms and household. Burma,Cambodia,IndonesiaandThailandalso are noted for their child labour problems. Observers claim that as many as 2 million children under the age of 14 are working half-to-full it inIndonesia, mostly in family-run businesses in the informal sector and in agriculture. One-fourth of all the world’s child laborers are found inIndiaalone. Other counties in southernAsialikeNepalandBangladeshare also rife with child labour problem.

Pakistan, in this global scenario, is not an exception. As the entire world is voicing concern against this issue with increased momentum, its eradication calls for an integrated and coordinated action. As such, there is a dire necessity to create internationally an environment that should serve as a helpful pressure though cooperative prelateship between industrialized countries and the developing nations by means of financial assistance for the uplift of the poor societies and combating the problems like high population growth,. illiteracy, economic recessions and unemployment, etc, instead of developing a climate to aggravate these problems.

Opinions on the conception of child labor are divided and distorted amongst various countries depending on the stages of their development. The developing countries, includingPakistanand other South Asian countries, view it essentially as a projectionist poly. The developed countries project child labor and the conditions of their work and remuneration as a fundamental question of human rights. They view conditions of work for child labour as harsh, exploitative and hazardous. A number of work places are seen as exposing children to undesirable environments: smoking, drug addiction, crimes and other immoral pursuits.

Conditions of child labor are defined by ILO as working:

(a) Too young:

(b) For long hours, in some cases 12 to 16 hours a day;

(c) Under physical, social and psychological strain and stress;

(d) On the streets in healthy and dangerous condition; and

(e) For very little pay.

Child labour is a product of various factors:

(a) Unemployment, under employment and poverty;

(b) Unsatisfactory availability of educational institutions and poor quality of education;

(c) Indifferent attitude of parents and society;

(d) Absence of any formal social security mechanism; and

(e) Sub-optimal policy formulation and implementation

Child labour is also seen as contributing towards the perpetuation available to adults. By accepting lower wages, child labour forces even adults to accept lower competitive wages. Lower wages accepted by adult force other family members including children, to become active in the labor market and seek any work opportunity of wages and condition of work. (Jalazai, 2004)

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Discriminatory Laws against Women

Introduction

The women in Pakistan has been severely disadvantaged and discriminated against. They have been denied the enjoyment of a whole range of economic, social and civil rights and often deprivation in one of these areas has entailed discrimination in another. Women have denied social right like education, more easily abused in the family and community and are more likely to be deprived of the right to legal redress.

Women in Pakistan don’t enjoy or benefit from the fundamental right recognized in the constitution of Pakistan nor the provision of Muslim personal law.

The provision of labor and service laws discriminates against women. The inquiry of the commission for women clearly states that this legislation must be repealed as it discriminates against women and is in conflict with their fundamental right.

Review of Related Literature

  1. Examine law relating to women with a view to identify those which are discriminatory.

Qanun_e_ shahadat 1984

  1. Competence and number of witness          Article 17

“Competence of person to testify and number of witness required in any case shall be determined in accordance with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah”.

  1. Impeaching credit of witness                     Article 151(4)

The credit of witness may be impeaching by in the following ways by the adverse party or with the consent of the court, by the party who calls him.

a) By the evidence of persons who testify that they, from their knowledge of the witness, believe him to be unworthy of credit.

b) By proof that the witness has been bribed or has accepted the offer of a bribe.

c) When a man in prosecuted for rape it may be shown that prosecutor was of generally immoral character.

Criminal law

Criminal law amendment Act 1997 better know as case of sexual harassment and unnatural offence. The entire law revolves around a patriarchal structure. It is also against women.

PPC 1860

1.  Sexual harassment (Section 509)

“Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any women utters, any word, any sound or gesture, or exhibit any object intending that, such word or sound shall be hear, or that, such gesture or object shall be seen, by such women shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.”

2. Unnatural offence (Section 377)

“Whoever voluntary has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, women, or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment

Of either description for term which shall not be less than two year nor more than ten year and shall also be liable to fine.”

The sections given below also discriminates women.

  • Hudood Ordinance, 1979.
  • The Zina ordinance (section 2(a))
  • Short title, extent and commencement

This Ordinance may be called the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979. It extends to the whole of Pakistan. It shall come into force on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, 1399 Hijri, that is, the tenth day of February, 1979.

Definitions
In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject of context:

a) “adult” means a person who has attained, being a male, the age of eighteen years or, being a female, the age of sixteen years, or has attained puberty;

b) “hadd” means punishment ordained by the Holy Quran or Sunnah;

c) “Marriage” means marriage which is not void according to the personal law or the parties, and “married” shall be construed accordingly;

d) Muhsan” means

(i) a Muslim adult man who is not insane and has had sexual intercourse with a Muslim adult woman who, at the time he had sexual intercourse with her, was married to him and was not insane; or

(ii) a Muslim adult woman who is not insane and has had sexual intercourse with a Muslim adult man who, at the time she had sexual intercourse with him, was married to her and was not insane

(e)”tazir” means any punishment other than “hadd”, and all other terms and expressions not defined in this Ordinance shall have the same meaning as the Pakistan Penal Code, or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

Zina
A man and a woman are said to commit ‘Zina’ if they willfully have sexual intercourse without being validly married to each other.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of Zina.

Proof of zina or zina-bil-jabr liable to hadd. Section 8(b)

Proof of zina-bil-jabr liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:-

a) the accused makes before a Court of competent jurisdiction a confession of the commission of the offence; or

b) at least four Muslim adult male witnesses, about whom the Court is satisfied, having regard to the requirements of tazkiyah al-shuhood, that they are truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair), give evidence as eye-witnesses of the act of penetration necessary to the offence:

c) Provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the eye-witnesses may be non-Muslims.

Zina or zina-bil-jabr liable to tazir.

I. Subject to the provisions of section 7, whoever commits zina or zina-bil-jabr which is not liable to hadd, or for which proof in either of the forms mentioned in section 8 is not available and the punishment of qazf liable to hadd has not been awarded to the complainant, or for which hadd may not be enforced under this Ordinance, shall be liable to tazir.

II. Whoever commits zina liable to tazir shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which  ten years and with whipping numbering thirty stripes, and shall also be liable to fine.

 III. Whoever commits zina-bil-jabr liable to tazir shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which twenty-five years and shall also be awarded the punishment of whipping numbering thirty stripes.

 IV. When zina-bil-jabr liable to tazir is committed by two or more persons in furtherance of common intention of all each of such persons shall be punished with death.

Labor Law

  1. Workmen’s compensation Act 1923

Distribution of compensation SEC.8 (6)

“Where a compensation deposited with the commissioner is payable to any person, the commissioner shall if the person to whom the compensation is payable is not a women or a person under legal disability, and may in other cases pay the money to the person entitled these to.”

This law does not give all the privileges to women with are given to men.

  1. Factories Act 1934

I. Section 32 is prohibition of employment of women near cotton opener.

II. Section 36 Daily Hours

No adult worker shall be allowed or required to work in a factory for more than nine hours in any day.

Provided that male adult worker in a seasonal factory may work for ten hours any time.

III. Section 27(1) Women prohibited from working or near machinery in motion.

IV. Women must work during specified hours

Section 45(1)(a,b) no women shall be allowed to work in factory except between 6AM and 7 PM.

This section also discriminates women.

  1.  Highlight the effects faced by women due to discriminatory laws.
  2. Suggest measure for the reconciliation of discriminatory law against women

Analysis of Data

Available on demand but not published here.

Statement of Problem

The aim of this study is to identify that discriminatory laws against women their effect on the status of women in Pakistan. The study will also suggest measure for the reconciliation of these discriminatory laws.

 Objective of study

Objective of the study are as under:

  1. To study of Criminal Laws as given below,

1.1.   PPC 1860

1.2.   The Hudood Ordinance 1979

  1. To study of Labor Law
  2. To study of  Qanun_e_shahadat 1984

Significance of the study

The study in hand will be helpful for better understanding of discriminatory laws against women in Pakistan and their effect on women. It will also be helpful to start campaigns for repeal of discriminatory laws against women in Pakistan.

Methodology

A semi structured interview schedule consisting of fourteen questions on different aspects of H O was developed for present study. Interview was conducted personally depending upon the availability of the respondents.

Population

Expert from three areas Law, Education and Human Right activists inPakistan.

Sample Size                                      

Sample size consists of thirty experts from Law, Education and Human Right activists, ten from each field in the city of Lahore.

Sampling Technique

Convenient sampling technique was being used.

Study Instrument

A semi-structured interview developed for respondent samples.

Limitation of the study

Due to shortage of time and lack of resources it was not possible to contact individuals are suffering from discriminatory laws on case to case basis, therefore only experts opinion is asserted curtailing the validity of the research study.

Conclusion

“Our whole system needs to be changed. What can be expected from a nation that has no conscience, no morals left? We lack the ability to seek the truth and show goodwill to others. We have not progressed even one step since independence. What we need is a welfare system like Britain’s or Canada’s. All the industrialists have rummaged this country on one pretext or the other. Nobody has done anything for the nation. First of all, we must do away with the Hudood ordinance which is very discriminatory against women. As far as the Shariat Bill is concerned, it should not be implemented under any circumstances. The women of this country is already being exploited and facing much discrimination.”

“The laws of our country are very discriminatory against women. There is so much of domestic violence that it is unbelievable. Every year we receive over 400 such cases. This is not to be confused with the hundreds of calls for help we get from women. Every woman is not brave enough to take the matter to the court and complain against her husband or parents. Most of the times they are economically dependent on them and cannot come forward.”

The fact that, culturally, women are seen as possessions of their husbands sanctions different forms of partner-abuse – verbal, emotional and physical. It relegates wife-battering to the private sphere, discouraging the wife both from seeking help and outside intervention. Specific forms of domestic abuse include Karo-Kari, Watta Satta marriages, stove burning, and disfigurement through acid throwing. In certain parts of the interior, the practice of marrying women to the Holy Quran is still prevalent.

Recommendation

The governments should have adopted measures to improve the status of women;

  • Women do not face discrimination at any level- whether at home at work. Women by providing them equal opportunity in a viable
  • Efforts will therefore be aimed at: ensuring that prevalent negative attitudes, customary practices and harmful traditions that constrain women are changed, through committed efforts at every level; ensuring that all discriminatory laws are reviewed and subsequently repealed; ensuring that all forms of violence against women is eliminated.
  • The policy will be guided by: Principles of equality as per Islamic/ Quranic injunctions and as enshrined in the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan in particular, Articles 25 and 34; the strategic objectives and actions listed in the National Plan of Action.
  • Repeal of all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women.
  • Embodying the principle of the equality of men and women in national constitutions or other appropriate legislation if not yet incorporated therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate means, the practical realization of this principle;
  • Taking all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women;
  • Taking all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise;

References

  1. M.K.Chohan | “Islamic Hudood Laws inPakistan”, Khyber Law Publishers Lahore, 1997
  2. Barrister Hassan Farukh |  Al Imran is currently studying LLM in International Law, UK.
  3. Jahangir and Jilani, | The Hudood Ordinances, pp. 134-136.
    1. Sadaf Zahra, | Manual of Hudood Laws in Pakistan, Kausar Brothers, Law Publishers, Lahore 1998

 

Questionnaire

Name……………………….            Age……………………………

Occupation …………………….             Address……………………….

  • Question was asked that are the law is discriminatory?
  • Nature of Discriminatory law is Islamic or UnIslamic?
  • What is the effect of discriminatory law on the status of women?
  • Courts decisions biased towards women due to discriminatory?
  • Discriminatory laws Repealed or Amended:
  • Appointment of Female Judges:
  • Crimes Increase:

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CEDAW & Pakistan

WHAT CEDAW IS?

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women.  Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

The Convention defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:

  • to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
  • to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
  • to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life — including the right to vote and to stand for election — as well as education, health and employment.  States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations.  It affirms women’s rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality and the nationality of their children.  States parties also agree to take appropriate measures against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women.

Countries that have ratified or acceded to the Convention are legally bound to put its provisions into practice.  They are also committed to submit national reports, at least every four years, on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations.

BACKGROUND

OnDecember 18, 1979, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In 1979, the General Assembly adopted the Women’s Convention. As of December 1999, 165 countries have ratified the Convention. In June 1997 the Clinton Administration informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of its priorities for ratification of international treaties in the 105th Congress. TheUnited Stateswas active in drafting the Convention and signed it onJuly 17, 1980. It was transmitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in November 1980. In the summer of 1990, the Committee held hearings on the Convention. In the spring of 1993, sixty-eight senators signed a letter to President Clinton, asking him to take the necessary steps to ratify the Women’s Convention. In June 1993, Secretary of State Warren Christopher announced at the World Conference on Human Rights inViennathat the Administration would move on the Women’s Convention and other human rights treaties.

In September 1994, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported out favorably on the Convention, by a vote of 13 to 5 (with one abstention). Unfortunately, this occurred in the last days of the Congressional session, when several senators put a hold on the Convention, thereby blocking it from the Senate floor during the 103rd Congress. When the new Senate convened in January 1995, the Convention reverted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The committee has taken no action since then.

Importance of U.S. Ratification The Convention provides a universal definition of discrimination against women that provides a basis for every government’s domestic and foreign policy to combat discrimination. As one of the few nations that have failed to ratify the Women’s Convention, theUnited Statescompromises its credibility as a leader for human rights. TheUnited Statesmade ratification of the Women’s Convention by the year 2000 one of its public commitments at the UN Conferences on Women inBeijingin September 1995. TheUnited Statesmust keep that commitment.

The Women’s Convention is a tool that women around the world are using in their struggle against the effects of discrimination: Violence against women, poverty, lack of legal status, no right to inherit or own property, access to credit, etc. Women need theUnited Statesto speak loudly and clearly in support of the Women’s Convention so that the Convention becomes a stronger instrument in support of their struggles. WithoutUSratification, other governments can more easily ignore the Convention’s mandate and their obligations under it. Violence against women seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men. But violence against women itself emerges from the phenomenon of discrimination against women which makes them a target of violence. To effectively combat the crime of violence against women,USpolicy must address this linkage of discrimination and violence. By ratifying the Women’s Convention, theUnited Stateswill reinforce its commitment to eliminate discrimination and, therefore, move closer to effectively combating violence against women. TheUScould bring the benefit ofUSexperience in combating discrimination against women to this international forum.

OVERVIEW OF DIFFERENT ARTICLES OF CEDAW

ARTICLE 1

ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term “discrimination against women” shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.

ARTICLE 2:

LEGAL PROVISIONS

States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women and, to this end, undertake:

a. To embody the principle of the equality of men and women in their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation if not yet incorporated therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate means, the practical realization of this principle;

b. To adopt appropriate legislation and other measures, including sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against women;

c. To establish legal protection of the rights of women on an equal basis with men and to ensure through competent national tribunals and other public institutions the effective protection of women against any act of discrimination;

d. To refrain from engaging in any act or practice of discrimination against women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions shall act in conformity with this obligation;

e. To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise;

f. To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women;

g. To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women.

ARTICLE 3:

ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION

States Patties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men.

ARTICLE 4:

TEMPORARY SPECIAL MEASURES

1. Adoption by States Parties of temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women shall not be considered discrimination as defined in the present Convention, but shall in no way entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate standards; these measures shall be discontinued when the objectives of equality and treatment have been achieved.

2. Adoption by States Parties of special measures including those measures contained in the present Convention, aimed at protecting maternity shall not be considered discriminatory.

ARTICLE 5:

STEREOTYPING AND PREJUDICES

States Parties should take all appropriate measures:

a. To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;

b. To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding of maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the primordial consideration in all cases.

ARTICLE 6:

EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.

ARTICLE 7:

WOMEN IN POLITICS AND PUBLIC LIFE

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country, and in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the right

A. to vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies; b. to participate in the formulation  of government policy and the implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government;

C. to participate in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country.

ARTICLE 8

WOMEN AS INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES

States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure women, on quall terms with men and without any discrimination, the opportunity to represent their Governments at the international level and to participate  n the work of international organizations.

ARTICLE 9

NATIONALITY

1. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality. They shall ensure in particular that neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by the husband during marriage shall automatically change the nationality of the wife, render her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband.

2. States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children.

ARTICLE 10

EDUCATION

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:

a. The same conditions for career and vocational guidance for access to studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational establishments of all categories. In rural as well as in urban areas, this equality shall be ensured in pre-school, general, technical, professional and higher technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training;

b. Access to the same curricula, the same examinations, teaching staff with qualifications of the same standard and school premises and equipment of the same quality;

c. The elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women at all levels and in all forms of education by encouraging coeducation and other types of education which will help to achieve this aim and, in particular, by the revision of textbooks and school programmes and the adaptation of teaching methods;

d. The same opportunities to benefit from scholarships and other study grants;

e. The same opportunities for access to programmes of continuing education, including adult and functional literacy programmes, particularly those aimed at reducing, at the earliest possible time, any gap in education existing between men and women;

f. The reduction of female student drop-out rates and the organization of programmers for girls and women who have left school prematurely;

g. The same opportunities to participate actively in sports and physical education;

h. Access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health and well-being of amities, including information and advice on family planning.

ARTICLE 11

EMPLOYMENT, HEALTH & SAFETY AND SOCIAL WELFARE

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular:

a. The right to work as an inalienable right of all human beings;

b. The right to the same employment opportunities, including the application of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment;

c. The right to free choice of profession and employment, the right to promotion, job security and all benefits and conditions of service and the right to receive vocational training and retraining, including apprenticeships, advanced vocational training and recurrent training;

d. The right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and to Equal treatment in respect of work of equal value, as well as Equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work.

e. The right to social security, particularly in cases of Retirement,  unemployment, sickness, invalidity and old age And other incapacity to work, as well as the right to paid Leave;

f. The right to protection of health and to safety in working Conditions, including the safeguarding of the function of Reproduction.

2. In order to prevent discrimination against women on the grounds of Marriage or maternity and to ensure their effective right to work, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:

a. To prohibit, subject to the imposition of sanctions, dismissal

On the grounds of pregnancy or of maternity leave and

Discrimination in dismissals on the basis of marital status;

b. To introduce maternity leave with pay or with comparable social benefits without loss of former employment, seniority or social allowances;

c. To encourage the provision of the necessary supporting social services to enable parents to combine family obligations with work responsibilities and participation in public life, in particular through promoting the establishment

And development of a network of childcare facilities;

d. To provide special protection to women during pregnancy in types of work proved to be harmful to them.

ARTICLE 12

WOMEN’S HEALTH

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of healthcare in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to healthcare

Service, including those related to family planning.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1 of the article, States Parties shall ensure to women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confinement and the post-natal period granting free services where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.

ARTICLE 13

WOMEN IN ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL LIFE

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights, in particular;

a. The right to family benefits;

b. The right to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit;

c. The right to participate in recreational activities, sports and all aspects of cultural life.

ARTICLE 14

RURAL WOMEN

1. States Parties shall take into account the particular problems faced by rural women and the significant roles which rural women play in the economic survival of their families, including working in the non-monetized sectors of the economy, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the application of the provisions of this Convention to women in rural areas.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women that they participate in and benefit from rural development and, in particular, shall ensure to such women the right:

a. to participate in the elaboration and implementation of development planning at all levels;

b. to have access to adequate health care facilities, including information, counseling and services in family planning;

c. to benefit directly from social security programmes;

d. to obtain all types of training and education, formal and nonformula, including that relating to functional literacy as well as inter alias the benefit of all community and extension services, in order to

Increase their technical proficiency;

e. to organize self-help groups and co-operatives in order to obtain equal access to economic opportunities through employment or self-employment;

f. to participate in all community activities;

g. to have access to agriculture credit and loans, marketing facilities, appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian reforms as well as in land resettlement schemes;

h. to enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications.

ARTICLE 15:

EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

1. States Parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law.

2. States Parties shall accord to women, in civil matters, a legal capacity identical to that of men and the same opportunities to exercise that capacity. In particular, they shall give women equal rights to conclude contracts and to administer property and shall treat them equally in all stages of procedure in courts and tribunals.

3. States Parties agree that all contracts and all other private instruments of any kind with a legal effect which is directed at restricting the legal capacity of women shall be deemed null and void.

4. States Parties shall accord to men and women the same rights with regard to the law relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and domicile.

ARTICLE 16

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY RELATIONS

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:

a. The same right to enter into marriage;

b. The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent;

c. The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and its dissolution;

d. The same rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of their marital tutus, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the interests of the hildren shall be paramount;

e. The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights;

f. The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, warship, trusteeship and adoption of children, or similar institutions where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount;

g. The same personal rights as husband and wife, including the right to choose a family name, a profession and an occupation;

h. The same rights for both spouses in respect of ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property, whether free of charge or for a valuable consideration.

2. The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage and to make the registration of marriages in an official registry compulsory.

INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE OF CEDAW

Why is CEDAW important?

CEDAW is important to the lives of women in theUnited Statesbecause it sends a powerful signal that our government truly believes that women should be treated fairly and equally under theU.S.law. Current laws, while reflecting a commitment to the rights of all individuals, do not create rights for women that are specific to women’s needs in daily life. Through CEDAW ratification, theUnited Stateswould commit to ensuring that equality becomes a reality for all women and girls in such areas as civil and political rights; property rights; employment and compensation; education; health care and safety; and insurance, retirement, and other benefit plans. Not only will CEDAW impact the lives of women in theUnited Statesbut abroad as well.U.S.ratification would be a critically important statement of support for women elsewhere whose governments place little or no importance on adherence to the treaty’s provision as long as the world’s most powerful country does not, and it would increase immeasurably theUnited States’ own credibility in condemning human rights violations at home and abroad.

CURRENT STATUS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF U.S. RATIFICATION

CURRENT STATUS

In June 1997 the Clinton Administration informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of its priorities for ratification of international treaties in the 105th Congress.

TheUnited Stateswas active in drafting the Convention and signed it onJuly 17, 1980. It was transmitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in November 1980. In the summer of 1990, the Committee held hearings on the Convention. In the spring of 1993, sixty-eight senators signed a letter to President Clinton, asking him to take the necessary steps to ratify the Women’s Convention. In June 1993, Secretary of State Warren Christopher announced at the World Conference on Human Rights inViennathat the Administration would move on the Women’s Convention and other human rights treaties.

In September 1994, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported out favorably on the Convention, by a vote of 13 to 5 (with one abstention). Unfortunately, this occurred in the last days of the Congressional session, when several senators put a hold on the Convention, thereby blocking it from the Senate floor during the 103rd Congress. When the new Senate convened in January 1995, the Convention reverted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The committee has taken no action since then.

Sixty-seven “yes” votes are required for the Senate to consent to ratification. Action by the House of Representatives is not required for ratification of international treaties. To date ten states have endorsedU.S.ratification in their state legislatures:California,Hawaii,Iowa,Maine,Massachusetts,New Hampshire,New York,North Carolina,South Dakota, andVermont. The Connecticut State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives have also endorsedU.S.ratification.

IMPORTANCE OF U.S. RATIFICATION

The Convention provides a universal definition of discrimination against women that provides a basis for every government’s domestic and foreign policy to combat discrimination.

As one of the few nations that has failed to ratify the Women’s Convention, theUnited Statescompromises its credibility as a leader for human rights. TheUnited Statesmade ratification of the Women’s Convention by the year 2000 one of its public commitments at the UN Conference on Women inBeijingin September 1995. TheUnited Statesmust keep that commitment.

The Women’s Convention is a tool that women around the world are using in their struggle against the effects of discrimination: violence against women, poverty, lack of legal status, no right to inherit or own property, access to credit, etc. Women need theUnited Statesto speak loudly and clearly in support of the Women’s Convention so that the Convention becomes a stronger instrument in support of their struggles. WithoutUSratification, other governments can more easily ignore the Convention’s mandate and their obligations under it.

Violence against women seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men. But violence against women itself emerges from the phenomenon of discrimination against women which makes them a target of violence. To effectively combat the crime of violence against women,USpolicy must address this linkage of discrimination and violence. By ratifying the Women’s Convention, theUnited Stateswill reinforce its commitment to eliminate discrimination and, therefore, move closer to effectively combating violence against women.

The Clinton Administration has developed a number of provisions that will be incorporated intoUSratification of the Convention to ensure that there will be no inappropriate intrusion on states’ rights or into the private domain.

Ratification of the Women’s Convention will entitle theUnited Statesto nominate aU.S.expert to be a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which monitors reports of progress in the treatment of women from the countries that have ratified the Convention. In this capacity, theUSexpert could bring the benefit ofUSexperience in combating discrimination against women to this international forum.

GOVT URGED TO SIGN CEDAW PROTOCOL

KARACHI, Feb 28: Speakers at a seminar on Friday demanded of the government to edictally repeal all discriminatory laws and declare parallel systems like jigs, pinheads, etc., illegal.

They were speaking on the concluding day of a two-day seminar on the United Nations’ convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), organized by the Aurat Foundation.

“The government should bring all laws in conformity with the CEDAW, which it has signed, asPakistanis bound to make all laws in accordance with the international convention,” they observed.

Justice (retired) Sheik Usmani urged the civil society organizations to lobby with the women parliamentarians so that they could take a unified stand, regardless of their party affiliations, in the parliament whenever an issue relating to women was taken up.

He said that under the new laws domestic violence could now be tried by the family courts as the judges have been given the powers of the first-class magistrate, who can fine and imprison a violator.

He said that the family courts could direct a husband not to sell his property till the case was decided, while earlier when a court decided against a man and directed him to pay some amount to his wife, he used to sell all his property before implementation of the law and the woman could not get the share.

Justice Usmani was of the view that under the new laws the procedure to get Chula” (a woman’s right to divorce) had been made easy and women have been provided relief and now they can get Chula easily.

He said that many cultural and social traditions were being practiced under the garb of religion, but it would need a long time and struggle to change these centuries-old traditions.

Other speakers urged the government to sign the Optional Protocol of the CEDAW and said that after signing the protocol the government would become accountable to the committee, which could ask it against any violation of the CEDAW.

At present the government has reservations on at least two points in the CEDAW: one is its provisions should be in accordance with the constitution while the other is that under the cover of the convention a state could take another country to the international court by making a complaint against a violation of the CEDAW, they maintained.

The speakers said that many countries had expressed reservations on the second point as they felt that any country would take another, whom it opposed on various matters, to the court just to settle old scores.

They suggested that awareness campaign be launched at a large scale so that the masses and, in particular, the decision-makers become aware of these issues.

Shagufta Alizai, Nighat Shirin, Yunus Khalid, Shahid Fayaz and others also spoke. Representatives of civil society organizations, NGOs, political parties and parliamentarians were present.

GOVT URGED TO IMPLEMENT LAWS PERTAINING TO WOMEN   RIGHTS

KARACHI: The Legislative Watch Committee of Aurat Foundation,Karachi, organized a two-day capacity building workshop on ‘CEDAW: Concepts and Realities on Thursday at a local hotel. The speakers of the workshop were of the opinion that at a time when March 8 (International Women’s Day) was approaching, there was a dire need to make people aware as to what were the definitions of equality. They said that people chanted slogans for women rights and equality and the government also made promises but they, later, became a part of history.

They were of the view that it should be seen whether the government implemented the existing law pertaining to women legal, economic and social rights and followed the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of whichPakistanis a signatory.

Stating the objectives of the workshop Nuzhat Shirin, Chief Coordinator of the workshop said that it was aimed at creating awareness about CEDAW and its implementation in relation to the laws and policies related to women inPakistan.

Shad Fiaz, Senior Program Officer of Aurat Foundation, highlighted three basic principles of CEDAW; raising equality, non-discrimination and state obligation.

Yunus Khalid, the Resident Director of Aurat Foundation,Quetta, briefed the participants about the CEDAW, which reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights and dignity of human beings. Khalid said that despite being a signatory of CEDAW we did not follow the ethics and articles laid down by the said convention. He said that the UN demanded ofPakistanto give a progress report after one year of signing the treaty in 1996 and the govt said that it had recently submitted the same. The report was supposed to be made in consent with the civil society, NGOs and other parties concerned, but neither they knew about it nor were they given a copy of the submitted report. Shagufta Alizai, a woman activist, consultant associated with various branches of the UN, concluded the session.

The sitting Government CEDAW in preparation for Pakistan’s participation in the UN World Conference for Women at Beijing later that year. Pakistan official and non-governmental participation is largest in its history of participating in UN Conferences for Women. Punjab Government passes an Ordinance reserving one-third of all local council seats for Woman.

1996 A process of Beijing Follow-Up is launched by donors and government, which Includes  the formation of National and Provincial Core Groups to monitor the government’s implementation of the Platform for Action.

1997 Parliament passes a law making death penalty mandatory for the offence of Gang rape. This is in addition to the existing Hadood laws.The National Inquiry Commission on the Status of Women submits its report. Its recommendations include repeal of discriminatory laws, drastic increase of women’s political participation through affirmative action and the established of a Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. The Privatization Commission invites bids for the private purchase of the first Women Bank. WAF files a petition against the move and the Lahore High Court issues an order ensuring that the FWB mandate is upheld by any Buyer.

2000 Declaration of Devolution plan in Pakistan. Women were given 33% Participation

Share in the Local Government Elections. The Asian Development Bank gave an aid of 130 million dollars in respect of implementation of Women quota in the Judiciary.

Future Initiatives

• Lobbying with Line Departments and NGOs for implementation of NPA.

• Focus on awareness raising, advocacy in districts as an on-going activity of         PA/CEDAW 

Unit,Punjabtill March 2001.

• Strengthening the capacity of PCG, DCG and Task Force inPunjab.

• Proposal for two centers for disabled women inLahoreandRawalpindiforwarded to the Government.

PAKISTAN CODE FOR THE WORKPLACE

Studies conducted by rights groups in Pakistanconfirm the widespread occurrence of sexual harassment of women at the workplace. But the government is dragging its feet on introducing a legal framework to check the practice and ensure a safe working environment for half of the country’s population.

Rights-based groups say the absence of laws that define sexual harassment as a punishable crime is resulting in an increase of such occurrences, causing tremendous mental and psychological agony to women employees in the formal and informal sectors.

“The right to live and work with dignity is an inalienable right of all people. Women, however, are denied this right, be it in agricultural fields or in corporate offices. Behavior that qualifies as sexual harassment restricts their active and effective participation in society according to their fullest potential,” says Hadia Nusrat, an activist based inIslamabad.

A groundbreaking investigation on the issue was recently concluded by the Alliance Against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (AASHA), a group of nine civil society organizations in the country. Its report, “Situation Analysis – Sexual Harassment at the Workplace”, says such harassment cuts across all boundaries – age, class and position. “Most working women in Pakistanat one time or another face this kind of violation of their rights from their colleagues, bosses or employers.”

The report is based on interviews with nurses in private and public sector hospitals, domestic workers, women workers in agricultural fields and brick kilns, women employees at multinational companies, public and private sector organizations and retail outlets. Of 17 nurses (between 16 and 21 years) interviewed 58 per cent faced sexual harassment by co-workers, patients or their relatives, and doctors. Only 11 per cent denied its existence while 29 per cent refused to talk.

Ninety-one per cent of the interviewed domestic workers (14 to 30 years) said they faced harassment from their employers. Similarly, 93 per cent of women employees in private and public sector organizations said they faced sexual harassment at the workplace. Most victims were dated by co-workers and employers, threatened when they refused to comply with sexual propositions by their bosses, and faced sexually suggestive comments, says the report.

At brick kilns and in agricultural fields the situation is particularly disturbing – the incidence of sexual harassment here is as high as 95 per cent. Interviewees said they faced harassment, or were raped and tortured by their employers.

The AASHA study, based on a small but diverse sample, is a manifestation of the magnitude of the issue affecting most women who are part of the active workforce. “Sexual harassment at workplaces is widespread and requires immediate government attention,” says Nasrin Azhar, a long-time rights
activist, currently working with Action Aid Pakistan which is a part of AASHA.

Apart from the fact that sexual harassment is gender-specific discrimination, says Azhar, it is an exercise of male power based on economic position and authority at the workplace. “Fear of losing
a job or their career being stifled, prevents victims from reporting incidents of sexual harassment.”

However, even those who muster enough courage to go public with their trauma find no justice; the country simply does not have the mechanism to deal with such cases. Besides, public, private and many not-for-profit organizations are also not prepared to address cases of sexual harassment if these are brought to their notice.

In 2002, Uzma Khan quit the NGO she worked for, when she saw that her employers were insensitive to the sexual harassment case she brought forward. Having been already humiliated by the government official (the accused) Khan felt further humiliated by the attitude of her colleagues, who asked her to hush up the matter because it involved a responsible government official on good terms with the NGO.

Instead of discussing the causes of malnutrition and child mortality – the purpose for which Khan met the government official, he was more interested in knowing how it feels when a mother breastfeeds her baby. “He was constantly asking about the pleasure a mother gets from the ‘let down reflex’. I knew exactly where his line of questioning was leading…I just walked out in disgust,” said Khan.

This is a typical case of sexual harassment that involved an aggressor whose behavior was ignored because of his position of power. In several such cases, victims are blamed for telling on male co-workers and employers if they report an occurrence. Says a spokesperson for AASHA, “The legal
procedures reinforce a woman’s experience of humiliation, embarrassment and public exposure, thus isolating her further.”

Meanwhile, the government is procrastinating – it is simply not moving on implementing the agenda of CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) to whichPakistanis a signatory. The Ministry of Women’s Development admits the need for a legal mechanism to check sexual harassment at the workplace. And it says it is aware of its responsibility to take measures under Article 19 of CEDAW to protect women from sexual harassment and Article 2 of the UN Declaration on Violence against Women that specifically mentions sexual harassment and intimidation at workplace.

On request of anonymity, an official of the ministry says, “It is a crucial problem that needs to be tackled. The ministry is currently working on a draft policy framework to deal with the issue, which is to be presented as soon as it is ready. But we cannot just introduce some law on our own, it has to clear the cumbersome bureaucratic procedures and attitudes of the male-dominated bureaucracy.” But this is what the government has been saying for years.

This non-committal official response has prompted AASHA to prepare its own code to deal with the issue – the Code of Conduct for Gender Justice at the Workplace. It wants the government to adopt the Code and give it legal protection as it envisages the issue in its entirety – from reporting to investigation/enquiry, and punishment.

AASHA has prepared its Code following an exhaustive process of countrywide consultations with public and private sector organizations and also civil society groups. It has been prepared in line with the provisions of ILO Convention 100 (Equal Remuneration for Equal Value of Work), Convention 111
(Discrimination in Employment and Occupation) and with the relevant clauses of CEDAW.Pakistan is a signatory to all these international conventions.

But the military government – which discussed the adoption of the Code at a cabinet meeting last September – deferred a decision when various ministers raised objections on the wide scope of the definition of sexual harassment. “It would have also enabled women workers to lodge complaints against their male companions without having to disclose their identity, hence creating an atmosphere of distrust at the workplace. The cabinet asked the ministry to come up with more realistic and applicable ways to deal with the issue,” confided an official of the Women’s Development Ministry.

AASHA however, is undeterred. A spokesperson says, “We are lobbying with the private sector and civil society organizations to voluntarily adopt the Code. Our efforts have so far enabled 10 organizations to implement the Code, proving that it is workable and enforceable, unlike what the government says.”

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Human Rights in Islam

Human rights in Islam or in Islamic state are

  1. The Security Of Life And Property:
    In the address which the Prophet delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, he said: “Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection.” The Prophet has also said about the dimmest (the non-Muslim citizens of the Muslim state): “One who kills a man under covenant (i.e., dimmer) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”
  2. The Protection Of Honor:
    The Holy Quran lays down:
  • “You who believe do not let one (set of) people make fun of another set.”
  • “Do not defame one another.”
  • “Do not insult by using nicknames.”
  • “Do not backbite or speak ill of one another.”
    (49:11-12)
  1. Sanctity And Security Of Private Life:
    The Quran has laid down the injunction:
  • “Do not spy on one another.” (49:12)
  • “Do not enter any houses unless you are sure of their occupant’s consent.” (24:27)
  1. The Security Of Personal Freedom:
    Islam has laid down the principle that no citizen can be imprisoned unless his guilt has been proven in an open court. To arrest a man only on the basis of suspicion and to throw him into a prison without proper court proceedings and without providing him a reasonable opportunity to produce his defense is not permissible in Islam.
  2. The Right To Protest Against Tyranny:
    Among the rights that Islam has conferred on human beings is the right to protest against government’s tyranny. Referring to it the Quran says:

“God does not love evil talk in public unless it is by someone who has been injured thereby.” (4:148)

In Islam, as has been argued earlier, all power and authority belong to God, and with man there is only delegated power, which becomes a trust; everyone who becomes a recipient of such a power has to stand in awful reverence before his people toward whom and for whose sake he will be called upon to use these powers. This was acknowledged by Hazrat Abu Bakr who said in his very first address: “Cooperate with me when I am right but correct me when I commit error; obey me so long as I follow the commandments of Allah and His Prophet; but turn away from me when I deviate.”

  1. Freedom Of Expression:
    Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic state on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness. The Islamic concept of freedom of expression is much superior to the concept prevalent in the West. Under no circumstances would Islam allow evil and wickedness to be propagated. It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. It was the practice of the Muslims to enquire from the Holy Prophet whether on a certain matter a divine injunction had been revealed to him. If he said that he had received no divine injunction, the Muslims freely expressed their opinion on the matter.
  1. Protection Of Religious Sentiments:
    Along with the freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience, Islam has given the right to the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect and nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon his right.
  2. Protection From Arbitrary Imprisonment:
    Islam also recognizes the right of the individual not to be arrested or imprisoned for the offenses of others. The Holy Quran has laid down this principle clearly:

“No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of another.” (35:18)

  1. The Right To Basic Necessities of Life:
    Islam has recognized the right of the needy people for help and assistance to be provided to them:

“And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute.” (51:19)

  1. Equality Before Law:
    Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.
  2. Rulers Not Above The Law:
    A woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in connection with theft. The case was brought to the Prophet, and it was recommended that she might be spared the punishment of theft. The Prophet replied: “The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common man for their offenses and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him Who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand.”

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How Can We Improve the Awareness of ‘Human Rights’ among People?

Executive Summary

This report is being organized to improve the awareness of Human Rights among people. And it sketches some of the key problems in general and represents the associated conclusions and recommendations for the report.

Improving the Awareness of Human Rights

It’s important to provide all human rights to each and every citizen of a country without making any social or economical distinction. For this purpose we have to define the basic standard for human rights at a broader context, keeping in mind all the complexities involved.

Rights of Women

Women should be aware of their rights. They should be provided with all the facilities everywhere. Women’s participation in elections at all levels must be encouraged. Laws in place to protect women from being given away as part of a compromise must be fully implemented. Healthcare for women must be extended to all women and children in the country. The gender disparity in education must be addressed. The status of women must be improved within the society.

Rights of Children

The UNC Convention on the rights of the child should be implemented. Priority must be given to improving the rights of the children. Universal primary education must be guaranteed and access to schools made possible for every child. Strategies that can lead towards the elimination of child labor, such as increased employment opportunities for women and awareness rising among parents, must be introduced.

Rights of Labor

Employment exchanges also need to be setup and regulated to ensure their effective working. A means to readjust workers within public sector departments need to be found. The appeal of sections of earlier laws, in conflict with the Bonded Labor Abolition Act, should also be considered. Educational, including vocational schemes, must be designed to meet needs in the employment market.
… complete long report is available.

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Fahmeed Shaukat