Panelists at the launch of essential services package for social services to women and girls subject to violence by UN Women.

ISLAMABAD: UN Women launched the Essential Service Package (ESP) in order to ensure that quality social services are provided to women subject to violence in Pakistan.

The ESP was launched by Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Brek Batley, and Director General Federal Ministry of Human Rights, Muhammad Hassan Mangi at an event which was also attended by government officials and civil society representatives.

The ESP is a global joint program of the United Nations on essential services for women and girls subject to violence. The aim of this program is to provide greater access to a coordinated set of essential and quality multi-sectoral services for all women who have experienced gender-based violence.

In Pakistan, ESP is being implemented through collaboration between UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, UNDP and UNODC.B The program identifies essential services to be provided by the health, social services, police and justice sector stakeholders as well provide a set of guidelines to improve coordination of essential services in Pakistan.

While addressing the event, Brek Batley said that “Australia is proud to be one of the founding donors of the Joint UN Essential Services Package program in Pakistan. This commitment of AUD 4.5 million, across 10 pilot countries, will help improve the quality of services provided to survivors of violence.”

Mr Muhammad Hassan Mangi stated that ending violence against women and girls is a high priority area of Pakistan. The Ministry of Human Rights is committed to incorporate the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  He added the government is taking capacity-building measures to make this system stronger and effective. He also emphasized the importance of effective legislation and implementation of laws to end violence and make social services accessible for victims.

Deputy Country Representative UN Women Pakistan, Aisha Mukhtar said it is for survivors to have access to high-quality services including health, justice and policing, and social services including shelter homes/Dar ul Amans (DuA). She added ESP is all about enhancing GBV survivors’ access to a coordinated set of multi-sectoral services including social services, justice and policing, and health.”

Pakistan was selected as one of the ten global pilot countries for roll out ESP. Other pilot countries include Cambodia, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Peru, Vietnam, Tunisia, Mozambique, Egypt, and Guatemala. Through the generous support from the Governments of Spain and Australia, the Joint Programme is supporting the pilot countries to develop or adapt quality standards and guidelines for the provision of essential services to survivors, as well as enhancing the capacity of service providers.