Today, we the members Informal Women Assembly of Health And Rural Development (HARD) Balochistan presenting this charter of demand in today’s press conference which has been developed after an extensive debate / consultative processes in our assembly sessions under the project “Strengthening Women Democratic Governance in Balochistan, Pakistan” being implemented with the financial support of the Commonwealth Foundation International (UK).
Dear Journalists, we really appreciate your contribution in highlighting and resolving public and women issues and thank you for your continuous support to the Civil Society Organizations/groups are struggling for the due rights and development of people particularly women and marginalized communities. In today’s press conference, we demand the provincial Government of Balochistan and other authorities/representatives;
Most vulnerable and marginalized families/households particularly female headed households, home based workers, transgender and People living with disabilities must be provided cash assistance and food package and essential supplies affected on account of lockdown and COVID-19.
- Nurses/doctors/paramedics and women healthcare workers must be provided Personal Protection Kits and other required equipment to respond COVID-19
- The pending “Balochistan Child Marriage Prohibition Law 2015” must be promulgated on immediate basis to outlaw all kinds of child marriages under 18 years within the province and contribute in Pakistan in achieving 8 out 17 SDGs 2030.
- The increasing honour killing, acid attack and trafficking incidents against women and girls must be combated and sexual/gender violence and discrimination against them must be addressed on urgent basis.
- Women protection, development and gender sensitized policies/laws development and implementation must be strengthened
- Ensure availability and access to health services including sexual reproductive health services in all districts especially in rural and far-flung areas to reduce mother and infant mortality rate that is extremely high in Balochistan province in entire region of Asia.
- Abortion laws must be revised in the light of its high rate of prevalence and modern pre and post care abortion services must be ensured at RHCs and BHUs level in urban and rural areas.
- Comprehensive and prolonged behaviour change campaign on positive versus toxic masculinity must be introduced in the province to inspire behaviour change among men and to empower women to assume decision-making rules at with their husbands.
- Media including, print, electronic and social media must be utilized by government, INGOs/Donors and other stakeholders working on family planning to educate men and women about family planning and contraceptive different methods and usage
- Government and INGOs/CSOs must make extensive use all forms of media to educate people about the causes, symptoms, treatment options and preventive measures of HIV/AIDs.
- The elimination of discrimination in and non-implementation of inheritance laws must be ensured that leads to denial right to property for women
- The robust steps must be taken to protect the children from sexual exploitation because children are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. Such violence is traumatic and often comes from trusted people that makes it more difficult to hold the perpetuators accountable. We also demand compulsory education and counselling on the content of “Good Touch and Bad Touch” and personal health in all public and private schools.
- Safe and dignified shelters must be established and ensured for women and children victimized as result of sexual or gender based violence or etc.
- The lady health workers in under health department and female teachers under Balochistan Education Project paying their services for a long time must be regularized as government employees and provided due employment benefits.
- The safe and equal access to healthcare, housing, education facilities and other public resources must be ensured for women and minorities and other marginalized groups or communities.
- Ensure access to justice and provision of psychosocial support to affected women and population in need including victims/survivors of sexual/gender based violence or any other human rights violations/violence.
- Build the capacity and promote women as leaders and decision makers and provide them space, recognition and opportunities in peace promotion processes
- There is a huge gender gap in electoral, political and democratic processes because about 1.2 million women do not have CNICs (identity Cards), 1.8 million women votes are not registered and 90% women are not aware about their civic and political rights as well as politics and democratic processes. There is dire need that Government of Balochistan and all other stakeholders must play their role in increasing women CNIC and voting registration and participation in democratic processes and the ECP and NADRA department reduce CNICs fee and make the procedure simple and easy for women in order that all women avail their CNICs and register their votes in order that women participation in electoral and democratic processes as voters and candidates enhanced and a gender balanced representation in political parties improved.
- The delimitation of constituency must be revised and demarcated again because many people including women could not cast their vote due to access issue. The constituency needed re-delineated as per the census in order women and other especial people have access to the polling station easily and use their voting power easily.
- Improve women meaningful participation and equal representation in governance including in developing policies, laws, budgeting and strategies at local, provincial and national level
- The transgender and people living disabilities (PwDs) are human being and important segments of society facing many issues and experiencing violence and discrimination. The job quota for PwDs reserved 2% must be increased and similarly, job quota for transgender must be reserved as well as a monthly basis stipend must be approved and compensated to the unemployed transgender and PwDs. The transgender first time allowed to avail CNICs (Citizenship) this is because there is dire need to assist and ensure their CNICs and voting registration free of cost.
- The required and existing policies and laws related to development of transgender and people living with disabilities (PWDs) must be developed, strengthened and implemented to ensure their physical and economic security as well as ensure their access to quality SRH services and all other public resources without any discrimination.
- Especial efforts must be taken to ensure that especial children (transgender and disable children) enrolled in schools and later given preferential seats in different government departments
- The increasing target killing and mainly usurping religious minority rights created a hostile environment for people especially sectarian and religious minorities. The government and NGOs play their role in protecting them and their worship places and in promoting democratic values of interfaith and sectarian harmony, peace, tolerance and minority’s rights in order that minorities human and constitutional rights are respected and they are considered as equal citizen of Pakistan.
- Local Bodies have been dissolved in the whole province about 2 years but the government is not holding the Local Bodies Elections. Consequently, the poor people are suffering and deprived of their rights which ought to be availed at door steps that is why local government election must be held as soon as possible.
- Now-a-days Khuzdar and entire Balochistan is entangled in the clutch of narcotics. Consequently, the young generation is being addict of narcotics very rapidly which not only damages their health but also creating serious health and social problems for them and their families. This curse is penetrating in the surrounding areas speedily, all these issues of Balochistan needed urgent attention from the authorities.
- The absence of Gynecologists, drugs, machineries, and modern surgical equipment in Hospitals, selling of counterfeit and substandard medicines in pharmacies, lack of paramedical staff, untrained doctors and in rural areas dysfunctional and lack of Basic Health Units are important issues which needed to resolved on urgent basis in urban and rural areas of Balochistan.
- The climate change is an emerging major problem that needed to be dealt seriously because overall Balochistan under the perils of climate change for a decade. The devastating impacts of climate change have taken in the grip the whole Balochistan where in many districts, springs, rivers, fruit orchards have been dried and the temperature increasing highly and moisturizing in air is reducing alarmingly and groundwater dropped badly that put the province under the mercy of disaster. The entire regions is suffering due to climate change mainly the disaster of drought which affected more than 18 districts where a countless number of children suffering from acute malnutrition and adolescent girls and women from anemia in last couple of years.
- The Balochistan Government enacted wildlife act 2014 but the implementation of act is zero and now it implementation of the act is need of hour because wildlife is in a serious danger in all parts of the province and unbridled hunting resulting wild animals and birds to migrate and also disrupts migration and hibernation of the animals as well as the interconnectedness ecosystem.
- The Government must consult and bring all the stakeholders mainly farmers, political parties and other relevant experts from irrigation and agriculture department on one page and develop a strategy for harvesting rainwater to restore and maintain ground water to respond climate change, water shortage and other environmental issues.
Published in The Balochistan Point April 3, 2021