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ISLAMABAD: As the World celebrated the Human Rights Day amidst seminars and talks, challenges to human rights in Pakistan have enlarged as the number of internally displaced persons, extra-judicial killings and gender based violence increased this year. Relating to the theme for Human Rights Day for 2010 ‘human rights defenders who act to end discrimination’, a handbook titled ‘Through the Gender lens’ was launched here at Islamabad.
The research-based book is the product of Uks research and publication centre, Islamabad in collaboration with UNFPA and is meant for Pakistani youth to analyse and develop gender-sensitive media content on Gender Based Violence (GBV).
In her welcome address, Ms. Tasneem Ahmar, Director of Uks said “The book is the final outcome of a year-long project on ‘Gender Advocacy’ through media and involvement of Pakistani youth.” A total of thirty-nine youth members representing all provinces and Azad Jammu Kashmir were selected who conducted peer-trainings in their respective locations to take forward the message of GBV.
Ms. Sherry Rehman was the chief guest of the occasion. Appreciating the efforts of Uks, she said “Pakistan is now experiencing largest ever youth bulge over the globe hence the youth should become agents of change and carry forward the message of awareness.” She stressed that the handbook is a public product hence everyone should own the project and work for reform at grassroots level to bring a positive change in society.
I. A. Rehman, a known human rights activist, addressing to the gathering said “Gender based Violence has increased over the years because common people are unaware of their rights” hence there is a need to highlight the issues in media in order to aware the masses regarding their rights.
Saadia Haq, the project coordinator of Uks said “the book showcased the commitment of the Pakistani youth to present to present their work for countering the negative impact of existing media content.”
Speaking on the occasion, Aamir Mateen said “Media is a shortcut to highlight the vital issues of human rights and gender imbalance.” While Salman Asif and Rana Jabbar also spoke on the occasion and lauded the effort of the organization in raising the level awareness among the masses regarding their rights.
According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), “December 10 is an occasion to reflect on the challenges and opportunities for realization of human rights in the country.” Hence there is an urgent need to recognise and prevent the great personal risks that rights defenders are exposed to. The day should serve as a reminder to the authorities that it has the prime responsibility to enable and protect the rights defenders’ role in the country.