PM forms committee for best practices to protect inmate women rights

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Khudayar Mohla –

ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): While forming a committee to study and investigate plight of women inmates in prisons of the country on Friday Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the committee to come up with best practices to protect women prisoners rights in Pakistan.

Talking to TLTP , human rights lawyer Sharafat Ali Chaudhry said there was dire need to make the system accountable so that inmate women rights should be protected expressing the Committee will burn the midnight oil in order to achieve the given mandate.

The committee comprising Federal Minister of Human Rights as chairperson, and secretary, Ministry of Human Rights, secretary Ministry of Interior, Home Secretaries and Inspector General Prisons  of all the four provinces and Gilgit Baltistan, Ms. Sarah Belal and Ms. Haya Zahid as members. Whereas, the Chairperson may co-opt any person as member of the committee.

There is a genuine need to put in place the institutional arrangements to address the issue in a comprehensive manner for which the committee has been formed taking into account the plight of the female prisoners, whether convicted or awaiting trial, in overall context of gender biasness prevalent in the society at large and issues associated therewith.

Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the committee includes; to assess whether Prison Rules, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and international best practices are being adhered to with respect to women prisoners, especially their protection, rights, health, security, and well-being; to ensure that gender-specific services are available for women prisoners addressing their physical, psychological, emotional, and sociological needs; to review Prison Rules and other relevant laws with a view to suggest gender specific changes in order to bring improvements for women inmates.

Other ToRs of the Committee are to review the overall governance, legal aid and management systems/processes in prison administration, especially with regard to women prisoners and to suggest improvements; to review individual cases of human Rights violations and victimization of women inmates and suggest measures for institutional accountability; to review situation of children accompanying women in jails and work to help mainstream such children, especially with regard to their education and social integration.

The Committee is also  to suggest comprehensive and workable system of governance of prisons in Pakistan with a view to ameliorating the plight of women in prison; to review post release programs to ensure that women prisoners are able to adjust in society after they leave the prison; and any other task assigned to it by the Chairperson in the interest of the welfare and protection of women prisoners.

Prime Minister has sought the committee report in the matter for further orders within a period of four (04) months.

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