Asia Foundation Hosts Event on Human Rights and Women’s Empowerment in Pakistan

Islamabad, September 27, 2016 — Last week, The Asia Foundation hosted an event showcasing the Foundation’s human rights and women’s empowerment programs in Pakistan. “Innovation & Development Towards an Equitable & Inclusive Society in Pakistan,” held at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, brought together ambassadors, media, national and international technical experts, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders to deepen the understanding of the Foundation’s work in the area of human rights and women’s empowerment.

Ameena Ilahi, the Foundation’s Acting Country Representative, opened the ceremony by welcoming guests and setting the context of the Foundation’s human rights work in Pakistan.

The keynote address delivered by Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister/Minister of State for Law and Justice on Justice and Inclusion in Pakistan reiterated the importance the present government and the Pakistan Constitution gives to human rights and upholding fundamental freedoms. Representatives from the four provincial human rights departments also presented their Provincial Human Rights Frameworks, designed and developed by them, and facilitated by The Asia Foundation. These Frameworks will guide the implementation of provincial action plans on human rights.

“Today’s event was an opportunity for the Foundation to showcase its achievements in the area of human rights and women’s empowerment, with illustrations of innovative models from the field. There continues to be a critical need for these initiatives, particularly for religious minorities,” said Mary Gill, MPA Punjab Assembly and Krishan Sharma, Chairperson of Rights of Expression, Assembly, Association and Thought (REAT) Network. The Foundation’s Access to Justice project runs 12 district-level Legal Aid Centers, providing free-of-cost legal aid and counseling services to members of vulnerable communities, particularly ethnic and religious minorities, survivors of gender based violence and persons with disabilities. Several beneficiaries from this project shared their personal stories today, followed by the success of the NGO led Legal Aid Centers.

Senior representatives from the Ministry of Human Rights and the Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony spoke on their individual responsibilities in adhering to the various international human rights conventions and in endeavoring to make their commitments under these treaties a reality. The event concluded with a brief presentation on the way forward by the Foundation’s Deputy Director for Programs, Farid Alam.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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Related locations: Pakistan
Related programs: Empower Women

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