In the fight against acid attacks on women, the way forward is sensitising and educating the youth about the matter.
This was the crux of the panel discussion on Tuesday, where wife of the US ambassador Dr Marilyn Wyatt and Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy called for an end to the gruesome crime, said a press release issued by the US embassy.
Applauding the efforts of the Pakistani legislature to pass acid attack legislation, Dr Wyatt asked the attendees to work on ending gender-based violence, specifically acid attacks. She said, “Our main objective is to raise awareness among university aged students about the devastating effects of acid attacks and acid crimes.”
“Pakistan’s youth demographic represents 60 percent of the nation’s citizenry, it is important that you sensitise yourself to this important issue so that your mothers, sisters, and daughters do not suffer from this cruel act,” Dr Wyatt added.
The panel featured Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose documentary on acid victims recently won an Oscar, Professor Hamid Hassan, who heads the burn unit at Benazir Bhutto International Hospital in Rawalpindi, Dr Khadija Tahir, a psychotherapist who treats acid survivors, Barrister Naveed Muzaffar Khan, a barrister defending victims of acid attacks; and representatives from the Acid Survivors Foundation and Aurat Foundation.
Through the Gender Equity Program, implemented by the Aurat Foundation, USAID provides grants to civil society organisations which work to end gender-based violence, advance the rights of women and provide them with economic opportunities, added the press statement.
Thus far, USAID has provided 76 grants valued at $3.5 million for Gender-Equity programs. These projects, among other things, will increase civil registration, enabling 1.6 million women to vote and access government services, advocate and coordinate national policy reforms combating gender-based violence.
The discussion was sponsored jointly by the HEC, the Aurat Foundation, and the Acid Survivors Foundation with US support.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2012.
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