LAHORE: Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) and ShirkatGah Women’s Resource Centre organised a workshop on state accountability, due diligence and the role of social activists in eliminating violence against women.
The training was conducted by international legal experts and trainer Zarizana Abdul Aziz and co-facilitated by Punjab Police DSP Aftab Ahmed. The objective of this workshop was to enhance the understanding of the international legal principle of state accountability. The aim was to exercise due diligence through “5 Ps which are prevention, protection, prosecution, punishment and provide redress”.
Giving his opening remarks, PCSW Transitional Housing for Women Project Manager Zainab Jaffri stated that the commission was a strong proponent of due diligence and it held state institutions accountable for human rights abuses committed not only by the state or state actors, but also non-state players.
The due diligence principle was a critical component for the formulation of accountability mechanisms and the workshop highlighted the factors through which the government and nonprofits could work together to eliminating violence against women. Aziz explained that historically, states had only been responsible for their own actions or those of their agents. However, public international law was subsequently developed to mandate states to exercise due diligence to promote and protect human rights.
DSP Ahmed provided his input on police SOPs to handle sensitive cases of violence against women, investigations process and procession. He also shared his views on conducting evidence collection to ensure conviction and handling of cases in which the complaint has been withdrawn and comprised.
The police officer told participants about the methods used by the police department to deal with issues in given resources and circumstances. He said police was also male-dominated just like our society overall. The only way to solve this issue of creating balance in representation of gender could be through “political will”.
Other participants included representatives of Civil Society organisations, Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, Women Development Department, Social Welfare and Baitul Maal, Population Welfare Department, etc.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2017.
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