Human Rights Commission Report Highlights Disturbing Conditions in Women’s Shelters Across Pakistan

The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has released a comprehensive report shedding light on the alarming conditions prevailing in women’s shelters, known as Darul Amans, across the country. According to the report, the environment in these shelters is far from conducive, revealing significant shortcomings and deficiencies in their infrastructure and services.

The report emphasizes that the conditions in Darul Amans are unsatisfactory in all provinces, pointing to a dire need for improvement. A staggering 70% of the women residing in these shelters fall between the ages of 14 and 30, with a majority of them being uneducated, underscoring the vulnerability of this demographic.

One of the most distressing revelations from the report is that 92% of the women accommodated in Darul Amans had been married before the age of 20, exposing them to various forms of violence and abuse. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for addressing the pervasive issue of early and forced marriages in the country.

The report also highlights the lack of essential facilities and support systems in these shelters. Most Darul Amans lack separate counseling rooms or libraries, and the absence of internet facilities and qualified psychologists further compounds the challenges faced by the residents. Notably, the report points out the absence of a structured mechanism or rehabilitation program for addressing complaints within these shelters.

Moreover, the report reveals a critical shortage of key personnel in the country’s four major Darul Amans, including medical officers, psychologists, assistants, and computer operators. This shortage not only hampers the quality of care provided but also exacerbates the vulnerability of the women seeking refuge in these shelters.

The absence of a systematic approach to addressing complaints and providing rehabilitation programs is a significant concern raised by the report. The lack of a well-defined procedure for handling grievances and the absence of effective redressal mechanisms further accentuate the challenges faced by women seeking shelter in Darul Amans.

The NCHR report serves as a wake-up call, urging authorities to take immediate and decisive actions to rectify the deficiencies in women’s shelters. It emphasizes the need for comprehensive reforms, increased resources, and a commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of women residing in these shelters. The findings underscore the importance of a holistic approach to address the root causes of gender-based violence and discrimination, ensuring a safer and more supportive environment for vulnerable women across Pakistan.