Islamabad: The UN Women in collaboration with the Law and Justice Ministry launched the ‘Tahaffuz’ programme for ‘preventing and protecting women from violence through enhanced access to justice and services’.
The programme, funded by Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement (INL) of the US Department of State, focuses on preventing violence against women and enhancing their access to justice will be implemented in five districts of Punjab and Sindh, as well as the Islamabad Capital Territory until 2024.
UN Women Deputy Country Representative Jacqui Ketunuti highlighted the objectives of the ‘Tahaffuz’ and said building on the successes of the previous phase of the project, her organisation would address the issue of violence against women through a holistic approach, targeting all the key stakeholders from government institutions, justice and security sector officials, as well as civil society.
She said using gender and social inclusion strategies, the programme would ensure VAW is addressed from all angles and institutions that facilitate women in accessing justice are strengthened to deliver accessible, quality and gender-responsive services.
“The programme aims to tackle the issue of violence against women in a holistic way through evidence-based legislation and policy interventions, strengthening capacity of duty bearers, enhancing coordination and increasing awareness,” she said.
INL Director Lori Antolinez said the US government was awarding $1.5 million to UN Women to help Pakistani women better access justice and legal services via ‘Tahaffuz’.
He promised the continued INL support and partnership with the Pakistani government and citizens, and UN Women and said in 2016, the INL was the sole funder for Phase One of the UN Women program, providing $3.5 million.
“Gender inclusivity and women’s empowerment in law enforcement and criminal justice is a top priority for INL in Pakistan. We support programmes to improve women’s access to justice through improved law-enforcement response to gender-based violence. More and better trained women law enforcement professionals mean superior delivery of justice to Pakistani women,” he said.
Mr Antolinez said the ‘Tahaffuz’ would strengthen the capacity of law-enforcement officials through improving knowledge and attitudes on gender, enhancing handling of cases of violence against women along with improved coordination between security and justice sector stakeholders, forensic officers, and medical examiners.
Law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar highlighted the steps taken by the Government of Pakistan towards preventing and protecting women against violence.
He thanked INL and UN Women for extending their support and said many progressive laws had been enacted in Pakistan and a strong legislative framework existed. “We need to make sure laws are implemented in letter and spirit so that the citizens of our country, especially women, are able to benefit from it. This programme will help create a safe and enabling environment for women and girls so that they may play an active role in national progress and sustainable development,” he said. Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women, Nilofar Bakhtiar and MNA Mehnaz Akbar Aziz also spoke at the event.
This year marks the 40-year anniversary of partnership between INL and Pakistan under the banner of “Justice, Security, and Prosperity,” with more than $1 billion invested over four decades by the United States government to improve public safety and enhance law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial capacity across Pakistan.