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Enforcement Crucial, Broader Reforms Needed

Pakistan’s parliament has passed a bill that significantly strengthens protections for women in the workplace against violence and harassment. The new law, drafted by the Ministry of Human Rights with extensive input from women rights groups and…
Women's rights activists demonstrate to condemn violence against women in Lahore, Pakistan
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An Important Step Toward Ending Widespread Abuses Against Women

This week the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, the highest body recommending judicial appointments, will consider the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would become the first woman appointed to the court.…
Justice Ayesha Malik Supreme Court Pakistan
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Few Toilets, No Menstrual Hygiene Supplies

When “Mi Mi” (a pseudonym) prepared for anti-coup demonstrations in Yangon in late February, she carefully chose to wear a pair of jeans and sneakers so she could run from the abusive security forces. The last thing on her mind was to carry menstrual…
An official with a megaphone during the release of prisoners from Insein prison after a presidential pardon in Yangon
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International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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Ban Degrading, Unscientific, Abusive Test

Last week, Pakistan’s Ministry of Law and Justice recommended that the so-called “two-finger test” – invasive and medically meaningless vaginal exams imposed upon women and girls to determine whether they are virgins – should not be part of any…
The Lahore High Court, in Lahore, Pakistan.
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‘Motorway Incident’ Protests Show Urgent Need for Police Reform

“Azaadi!” – or “freedom!” – women chanted on the streets of major cities across Pakistan on Saturday, as they protested police handling of a case known as the “motorway incident” – a shocking rape of a woman by multiple assailants. A police chief’s…
Women demonstrate to condemn the police response to the of rape of a woman by a highway, Islamabad, Pakistan, September 12, 2020.
News

Protect Health Workers, Ensure Essential Medical Care During Pandemic

With one of the highest maternal mortality rates in South Asia, Pakistan was already in crisis before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, the reported closing of maternity wards in Islamabad, the capital, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa…
Pakistani women wearing face masks leave the Aga Khan hospital where a patient suspected of having contracted coronavirus was admitted, in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
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Workers Fear Increase in Union Busting at Factories During Covid-19 Lockdown

In previous years on May 1, workers across Myanmar would rally and march in solidarity for workers’ rights and justice. But this May Day the streets will be quiet, as no marches are allowed with Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews in place. Most…
Workers shout slogans during a May Day march in Yangon, Myanmar, May 1, 2019.
News

Sindh Province Legislation Will Bolster Rights in Rural Areas

Sindh province in Pakistan is taking an important step toward ending abuse and discrimination against women agricultural workers. On August 24, the Sindh cabinet approved the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers Act 2019, which will now be…
Pakistani women work in a field in Lahore.
News

Allegations of Sale of Women to China Echo Abuses Elsewhere

Pakistan’s government should be alarmed by recent reports of trafficking of women and girls to China. These allegations are disturbingly similar to the pattern of trafficking of “brides” to China from at least five other Asian countries…
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News
  Sexual Harassment in Garment Factories Eleven women garment workers from a factory in southern India sent a hand-written letter to a local union in late 2016.[1] They wrote: “The plight of women workers … we don’t have anyone who would…
Women Garment Industry
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Overwhelming Evidence of Military Role in Hundreds of Sexual Assaults

Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, the government of Myanmar denies their armed forces raped Rohingya women and girls in a campaign of ethnic cleansing that forced more than 740,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee the country…
A Rohingya woman walks through Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 22, 2018.
News

Proposed Bill an Important Opportunity to Protect Children

Pakistan’s human rights minister, Shireen M. Mazari, recently spoke of her government’s commitment to advancing human rights for all Pakistani citizens. A proposed bill sent yesterday to Pakistan’s Senate that seeks to end child marriage is an…
A girl crosses a stream as she walks to school in Margalla Hills, Islamabad, October 24, 2014.
News

Montreal Summit Provides Important Platform to Support Global Justice

In a first-of-its-kind summit, the world’s female foreign ministers will meet in Montreal today and tomorrow to discuss a range of global challenges, from advancing peace and security to eliminating violence against women and girls in…
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News

Police Training, Justice Reform Crucial for Holding Assailants Accountable

A fact long-hidden in Pakistan, shrouded in the silence of stigma, is now official. A government report has found that child sexual abuse is disturbingly common in Pakistan, with 141 cases reported in the city of Lahore alone since…
People chant slogans and hold signs to condemn the rape and killing of 7-year-old girl Zainab Ansari in Kasur, during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan January 11, 2018.
News

Tahira Safdar’s Confirmation Would Be an Important Step for Equal Participation

Pakistan’s chief justice has nominated Justice Tahira Safdar as chief justice of the Balochistan High Court. If confirmed, she will become the first woman in Pakistan ever to hold this office. Pakistan remains the only…
Judge Tahira Safdar sits in court in Quetta, Pakistan, November 23, 2015.
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How Unions Help Workers Worldwide

How can a mango craving spiral into a labor dispute? I was talking with garment workers in Cambodia when I heard the mango story. A pregnant garment worker had been caught sneaking mangoes into the factory despite a rule forbidding food…
Garment workers take part in a May Day demonstration in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 1, 2017.
News

Secretary-General Report Details Sexual Violence as Weapon of War

The United Nations secretary-general for the first time has included Myanmar’s military, or Tatmadaw, in his annual list of parties that have committed sexual violence in armed conflict. Presented today to the UN Security Council, the…
Rohingya refugees walk across a bamboo bridge in the Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh, February 11, 2018.
News

Authorities Should Promote Equal Participation in Elections

For the first time in more than 40 years, women turned out in significant numbers to vote in one of Pakistan’s districts. The vote for local government in Upper Dir district of Pakistan’s northern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province…
A woman casts her ballot during elections for a new mayor in Karachi, Pakistan, December 5, 2015.
News

Refugees from Burma Lack Access to Crucial Services

“Sanctuary.” What does that mean to you? Probably not a massive camp made of bamboo and tarps with muddy paths, exposed to torrential rains and disease. But for more than 650,000 Rohingya refugees who fled the Burmese…
Rohingya refugees walk inside Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh January 8, 2018.