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A group photo of the award-recipients with Ambassador of Sweden Henrik Persson, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Khalid Khurshid Khan and UN Women’s Country Representative Sharmeela Rasool at the Swedish Ambassador’s residence. Image Credit: Supplied

ISLAMABAD: Women’s right to live a life free of violence and abuse outside and inside their homes is constantly under threat.

However, it goes to the credit of the rights activists and because of the government’s proactive policies, laws and their effective implementation both at the federal and the provincial levels, there is an increasing awareness in society about violation of women’s rights.

Speakers expressed these views while addressing an award-giving ceremony titled ‘2021 in Retrospective – Celebrating Action to End Violence Against Women’ held at the Swedish ambassador’s residence.

The Embassy of Sweden and United Nations (UN) Women Pakistan jointly hosted the event that was attended by the parliamentarians, ambassadors, diplomats and members of civil society.

The ceremony was held to appreciate the commitments and actions taken on pledges made in 2021, under the global theme of ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!’

A menace that knows no boundaries

Ambassador of Sweden Henrik Persson in his welcome remarks held that Sweden and the UN Women shared fundamental commitments towards gender equality. Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights violation around the world. It has no social or economic borders and no country is saved from this menace as it affects the rich and the poor alike.

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Ambassador of Sweden Henrik Persson, Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Khalid Khurshid Khan and UN Women’s Country Representative Sharmeela Rasool presenting award to a recipient in recognition of her role to end violence against women. Image Credit: Supplied

UN Women’s Country Representative Sharmeela Rasool and Sweden’s First Secretary Lotta Segerström Tejpar narrated stories of the victims of violence while UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Muniba Mazari recited a poem which she dedicated to all men and women striving to end gender-based violence.

Steps underway to end discrimination in GB

Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Khalid Khurshid Khan, who was the chief guest at the ceremony, spoke about the situation in his province. “In some of our districts we have achieved more than 95 per cent female literacy rate but in others, it is as low as 6 per cent,” he said.

“We have to cover a long distance to achieve the goal of zero-discrimination against women, he admitted adding, the GB government was in collaboration with various institutions to set up a nursing institute in the province as at present there was none. We are taking steps to mainstream women and girls in socio-economic and political life so that they do not remain silent when they face any type of violence,” he said.

Law enacted against harassment at workplace

Chairman of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Human Rights (HR) Senator Walid Iqbal encouraged stakeholders to make commitments on ending violence against women and briefed them on the successful passage of bill against harassment at workplace earlier this year in January.

Later, awards were given to the officials and representatives from the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).