The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday launched the Essential Service Package (ESP) to ensure that quality social services are provided to women and girls subject to violence in Pakistan, while Australian deputy high commissioner said that violence causes huge impact on economy. Speaking as chief guest at the launch of ESP by UN Women, Australian Deputy High Commissioner Brek Batley said that in his country economic impact of violence against women was $22 billion per year and it impacts every economy more or less.
Violence against women is persistent in every country and poses huge impediment in achieving gender inequality, Batley said while adding globally one out of every three women suffers violence during her life but this number is very high in Pakistan as one woman becomes victim of rape in every two hours.
He said he was glad to hear success stories from representatives of provinces with regard to legislative measures adopted to protect women from all kinds of violence. He further emphasised the need for taking essential services package, saying the ESP should be made available to every woman victim of violence.
He further stated Pakistan had opportunity to strengthen regulations and accelerate progress on reforms for gender equality. Australia was proud to be one of the founding donors of the Joint UN Essential Services Package programme in Pakistan, he added.
While concluding the launch ceremony, Director General Ministry of Human Rights, Muhammad Hassan Mangi said that more than 100 laws were available in the country for children and 80 for the women; however, effective coordination in implementation was needed and Ministry of HR is ready to provide support for capacity building.
Mangi added that ending violence against women and girls was a high priority area of the government and Ministry of Human Rights was committed to incorporating the recommendation of Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and that was the reason the CEDAW committees were formed in all provinces. An effective coordination mechanism was very important for a robust referral system to assist victims of violence, he added.
Earlier, the welcome address by Deputy Country Representative UN Women Pakistan Ashia Mukhtiar was followed by the panel discussion with provincial governments' representatives who shared measures being adopted in their respective provinces in this regard. The deputy country representative of UN highlighted that most challenging part of gender based violence (GBV) response services is weak coordination among different sectors that makes a survivor's journey more difficult. The ESP was all about enhancing GBV survivors' access to a coordinated set of multi-sectoral services including social services, justice and policing, and health, she added.
"We are starting with social services and would have a combined consultation with representatives of all sectors for effective implementation of global guidelines and protocols in Pakistan," she added. UN Women launched the ESP in order to ensure that quality social services are provided to women and girls subject to violence in Pakistan as part of global joint programme of the United Nations. The purpose of the programme is to provide greater access to a coordinated set of essential and quality multi-sectoral services for all women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence.