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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
News

Government Should Prioritize Prevention, Eradication, and Services for Survivors

On August 14, Ecuador commemorated the country’s first national day against sexual violence in schools. A year ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Ecuador responsible for the violations of Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s rights. Paola, who…
Judges at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights hear the case Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s mother brought against Ecuador in San José, Costa Rica on January 28, 2020.
News

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.
News

‘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

Proposed Health Code Would Improve Protection for Women, Girls, LGBTI People

Ecuador’s National Assembly has approved a new health code that would help all in Ecuador enjoy better access to health care. The bill, nearly 8 years in the making, was approved on August 25 by a vote of 79 to 58, and now requires the signature of…
The flag of Ecuador. 
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.
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

Survivors and Advocates Seek Help from UN Human Rights Committee

Norma* (*indicates a pseudonym) was 12 when her father began raping her. She became pregnant shortly thereafter. Though abortion is legal in Ecuador when a woman or girl’s life or health is in danger, no one told her this. She gave birth despite…
#NiñasNoMadres
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

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

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.
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

Protests Erupt After 7-Year-Old Girl Raped and Killed

Yesterday, Pakistani news anchor Kiran Naz went on the air with her young daughter to protest on camera the rape and killing of Zainab Ansari, a 7-year-old girl, whose body was dumped in a pile of garbage. “It is true when…
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

Regressive Step by Parliament on International Day of the Girl

Pakistan’s Senate chose to mark the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child this week in an unusual way: by rejecting a bill that would have raised the minimum age for girls to marry from 16 to 18. The grounds for rejection?…
A girl crosses a stream as she walks to school in Margalla Hills, Islamabad, October 24, 2014.
News

Stiffer Punishments Don’t Appear to be Deterring Crimes

On September 20, a man in Peshawar killed his two daughters because he thought they had boyfriends, and felt “ashamed” – the latest in a series of recent horrific acts of violence perpetrated in the name of “honor.” In a…
Members of civil society hold placards during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan against a recent "honor" killing on May 29, 2014.
News

Positive Signs for Movement on Pakistan’s Anti-Honor Killing Bill

First he drugged her. Then he strangled her. Qandeel Baloch’s brother murdered his sister, a self-created online star in Pakistan known for flamboyant acts, including posting photos of herself with a prominent mullah. In a news conference, her…
News
The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
News
A female member of Pakistan’s parliament recently introduced legislation to set the minimum age for marriage at 18 for women as well as men. Under current Pakistani law, it’s 16 for women. On January 14, her proposal was withdrawn by a parliamentary…