Pakistan President Approves Rape Ordinance | Sexual assault news

The new ordinance establishes special courts to judge cases of sexual abuse of women and children, requiring all proceedings to be completed within four months.

Islamabad, Pakistan – The Pakistani president has passed an ordinance to ensure that rape trials are completed within four months, while also establishing a national register of sex offenders.

“The country’s president, Dr. Arif Alvi, has approved the 2020 anti-rape ordinance,” a statement from his office said Tuesday, adding that the ordinance will remain valid for 120 days until it is ratified by parliament. .

“The ordinance will help speed up [legal] cases of sexual abuse of women and children “.

The new ordinance will establish special courts to try cases of sexual abuse of women and children, requiring all proceedings to be completed within four months.

It also establishes a special government cell to expedite the handling of legal cases, giving it the power to intervene and order medical examinations of rape victims within six hours of filing the complaint.

Lack of adequate medical evidence has often been the focus of acquittals in rape cases in the country.

Last month, the government of Punjab province, the country’s most populous, banned the use of the archaic, invasive “two-finger” test by coroners to determine if a woman has been raped.

The country’s federal ministry of human rights also opposed the use of that test.

In September, the gang rape of a woman on one of Punjab’s main highways sparked national outrage.

Following that incident, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan demanded that repeat offenders in rape cases be chemically castrated, and members of his government Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf promised that the use of the death penalty would be extended. in cases of rape.

Local media cited the new bill legalizing chemical castration as a form of punishment for repeat offenders.

It also criminalized the act of revealing the identity of rape victims.

“Violence against women and girls – including rape, so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence and forced marriage – remains a serious problem [in Pakistan]”Reads a Human Rights Watch 2019 report on the country.

“Pakistani activists estimate that there are around 1,000 honor killings every year.”

The country ranks 130th in the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index and 151st, or third from bottom, in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.

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