Dated: 5th of October 2018
Sindh commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) in collaboration of Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) with the support of Trocaire organized a consultative meeting on 5th October 2018, Friday in Hotel Movenpick, Karachi on proper functioning of Safe Houses for women established after the ruling of Honorable Judge Mr. Salahuddin Panhwar in the Rehmat Bibi’s case to provide relief to survivors of GBV for interim period before presenting in the court of law. District Administration including Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and Additional Deputy Commissioners hailing from 15 districts of Sindh, members of Sindh Commission on the status of women SCSW, departmental representatives from Social Welfare , Women Development and Home Department participated in the consultation meeting along with the representatives of various rights based civil society organizations.
The meeting was headed by the Minister of Women Development Department Ms. Syeda Shehla Raza, ex: Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly. Moreover, Ms. Mussarat Jabeen, Director Women Development Department, Ms. Anis Haroon, Member of National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR), Ms. Nuzhat Shirin Chairperson, Sindh Commission no the Status of Women and Ms. Raheema Panhwar, Regional Coordinator, SPO spoke in the meeting.
In her opening remarks Ms. Nuzhat Shirin, Chairperson SCSW shared that the meeting has been called to fulfil the orders of Judiciary. The objective of the meeting was to fulfil the court orders issued to Sindh Commission on the Status of Women to recommend permanent arrangements for safe houses.
Recommendations of the Meeting:
• Proper by laws should be enacted to clearly specify the SOPs for Safe houses
• Overlapping of institutional jurisdictions on safe houses should be clearly defined
• Proper funds should be allocated for establishment, running and maintenance of safe houses in the province
• Initially, well-functioning safe houses must be established in the districts of upper Sindh where tribal cultures has put the lives of women at risk
• Proper and dedicated human resources should be developed for these safe house through capacity building trainings
• Female staff should be employed at all safe houses
• Referral mechanism should be clearly defined in law in order to provide protection and shelter to GBV survivors before appearing in the court.
• Legal cover should be provided to the survivors of GBV who seek interim shelter in the Safe house
• Media campaigns should be launched at mass level in order to spread the message of availability of safe houses
• Boarding and lodging facilities should be provided to those seeking protection in safe houses along with medical and health facilities. However, the detention period should be clearly mentioned in the law
• Safe house authorities should be provide knowledge about their responsibilities towards the Survivors of GBV
• Required documentations should be made clear by law.
• Safe houses should be without any signboard and must be protected by security personals
• Controlling and managing authority for Safe houses should be made clear by law and financially supported by the provincial government
• Senior Lawyers should be engaged by SCSW to provide legal support for Survivors of GBV.
• Budget should be allocated in SNE for Safe houses