ISLAMABAD: During the second session of the 1st day of 16th Annual Rural Women Conference held here in Islamabad, recognizing the alarming lack in birth registration of girl children and marginalized segments of the society, the speakers and the participants urged the government to devise effective mechanisms involving communities, while taking into account innovative solutions utilizing digital technologies.
Today (Sunday) is the 1st day of the conference. Every year 15 October is celebrated as international Rural Women Day according to the UN General Assembly’s resolution A/RES/62/136 of 18 December 2007. Through the resolution, member states recognized the significance of the role that is played by the rural women admitting their contributions in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and end poverty. On Tuesday 17th October, the conference will culminate on award ceremony and celebrating the successes of the rural women who are participating actively in the 3-day conference representing 150 plus districts of the country. PODA’s 3-day conference is a regular feature in Islamabad since 2008. The theme of the ongoing conference is “Stop Child Marriages for Sustainable Development, Climate and Democracy”.
“Due to lack of official identity (ID) girls are deprived of their fundamental human rights including right to legal identity, citizenship, education, marriage, reproductive health, inheritance, government assistance, services and lead a dignified life as these are the rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan,” said Sameena Nazir,
Birth registration helps to decreasing the risks of child marriage, child labor and children being treated as adults in the criminal justice system,” said by the Founder and President of PODA during the second session of the day.
“This very basic human right will provide a strong foundation for achieving gender equality and empower women and girls,” said a speaker “Gender equality is goal 5 of SDGs which is translated into all SDGs,” she explained.
After the inaugural plenary, the day’s proceedings were focused on the rights of girl-child and registration issues linked with an alarming neglect to register birth of girl children. The PDHS survey of Pakistan identifies that here 42% children under the age of five are not registered. However, in newly merged districts of FATA, the birth registration rate is far low. According to UNICEF it was 1% in 2017 in former agencies. Being a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Government of Pakistan is committed to provide children their basic rights to survival, development, protection and participation.
The speakers included: Leher Mirza, Sudi Kohli- Sindh, Sofia Javed from Khyber pakhtoon khaw, women boxer, Sughra Rahman from Sahiwal, Dr. Yasmin Gul-Swat, Shahida Wafa Alvi from Muzafargarh – writer and journalist and Sadaf Raza from Justuju Foundation Sindh. Fareeha Ammar – UN Women, Darakhshan Saleh-Sindh commission on status of women and Ms. Kanwal Liaqat, MPA, PML-N, Lahore, Ms. Sabeen Rizvi, MNA, General Secretary Parliamentarian’s Forum, PML-N also spoke on the occasion. Ms. Raina represented transgender community said that government institutions should come-forward to ensure hundred percent birth registration. It should not be left to the will of the families and others, she explained.