Gender Sensitive Democracy Charter of South Asia
Lahore: The Charter demands an end to the discriminatory practices against the women that prevail in the family, communities and in the political systems including the governance institutions, political parties and society as a whole.
For this, there is need to promo gender equality and gender sensitive practices, create an enabling environment for adequate and meaningful participation of women in the public arena of electoral politics.
This Charter has been developed with the widest possible consultations during the last two years with the different stakeholders including civil society groups like parliamentarians, lawyers, academicians, media persons, human rights activists, representatives of governance institutions and intellectuals. These civil society groups have been working during this period at district, national and regional level on the issue of Engendering Democratic Governance in Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The Charter has been developed during various discussions of civil society groups held in Nepal in 2011.
The charter demands an end to the gender insensitive male dominated culture of the political systems of the South Asian Region in order to encourage women politicians to firmly establish themselves in the decision making positions.
It also demands an end to the culture of impunity by punishing perpetrators of corruption and violence against women in politics to establish gender justice by creating a congenial environment for safe and secure participation of women in politics.
This process of engendering democracy is also important due to the fact that it will strongly touch upon the issue of justice and poverty in our societies without which the ideal of a developed, just and egalitarian society could not be realized.
It notes that efforts to engender democracy can be achieved by deepening commitment to democratic values and processes through good governance, eliminating corruption, celebrating diversity and ensuring inclusivity. Therefore, all laws, policies, governance institutions, the judiciary, election commissions, other constitutional bodies and political parties must be democratized and engendered.
It expresses grave concern that women are underrepresented in the political arena despite the provision of international instruments, national laws, policies and efforts of civil society and women politicians.
Participation of women in politics and decision-making processes is alarmingly low, due to the presence of a range of discriminatory practices and gender insensitive laws, policies, and absence of gender sensitive governance institutions and monitoring mechanisms.
It urged the Governments of the Member States of the Region to REALIZE the standards and principles mentioned here in this Charter and ACT to implement them within a precisely defined time frame.
This Charter will be used for lobbying with the States of South Asia by the stakeholders working on the issue of Engendering Democratic Governance. This Charter will be delegated to the National Governments, major Political Parties, Election Commissions and Local Governance Institutions of South Asia.
This will also be delegated to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretariat. This Charter will be shared with politicians, parliamentarians, representatives of local governance bodies to sensitize and support the lobbying process.
Mr. Rohit Kumar Nepali, Executive Director, South Asia Partnership-Nepal
Mr. Mohammad Tahseen, Executive Director, South Asia Partnership-Pakistan
Ms. Rabbiya Bajwa, Lawyer, Member of National Democracy Watch Group, Pakistan
Mr. Habib Tahir, Lawyer, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Human Rights Activist, Member Local Democracy Watch Group
Ms. Farheen Mughul, Member Parliament, Pakistan
Ms. Amina Zaman, Member, National Democracy Watch Group
The Charter Sharing has been held at a local hotel in Lahore with media persons.
For more information, contact:
South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP -PK)
Haseeb Memorial Trust Building, Nasirabad 2 k.m.
Raiwind Road, P.O Thokar Niaz Beg, Lahore
Cell: +92331 404 4981
Cell: +92321 462 0203)
Cell: +92333 466 9949)
Tel: +9242 353 11701 -3
Fax: +9242 531 1710