Strasbourg: The European Parliament has asked Pakistan and Afghanistan to pay immediate attention to the crimes against women and advised them to ensure better laws to protect their basic human rights.
The parliament is deeply concerned about the situation of women and girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it said in a statement here Friday.
Women's rights must be addressed in all human rights dialogues, and in particular the issue of combating all forms of violence against women and girls, the statement said.
This included all forms of harmful traditional or customary practices, early or forced marriage, domestic violence and feminicide.
The invocation of any custom, tradition or religious consideration of any kind in order to evade the duty to eliminate such brutality be rejected, it stressed.
The European Parliament members paid tribute to Afghan women for playing a crucial role in nation building, especially to Massouda Jalal, an international human rights activist and former Afghan minister for women affairs.
They lauded the positive developments in the form of appointments of women to high-ranking political and administrative positions in Afghanistan.
However, the parliament also said it is deeply concerned that despite all the progress made, Afghan women and girls continue to be victims of domestic violence, trafficking, forced marriages, and being traded in settlement of disputes.
With regard to Pakistan, the members expressed deep concern about the handling of the court cases against Asia Bibi, Mukhtar Mai and Uzma Ayub, "which could further erode faith in Pakistan's justice system and embolden those who seek to violate the rights of women".
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court. She was sentenced to death. The verdict, which needs to be upheld by a superior court, has received worldwide attention.
Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani gang rape victim, won international acclaim as a campaigner for women's rights, while Uzma Ayub, another Pakistani rape victim, had miraculously escaped from her captors while being six months pregnant. She has vowed to seek justice come what may.
First Published: Saturday, December 17, 2011, 13:13