Islamabad, 17 September 2013:  The Islamabad/Rawalpindi-based Civil Society activists, networks and NGOs are outraged at the rape of a 5-year old girl in Mughalpura/Lahore and express their strongest condemnation of this inhumanity, as well as of the shocking number of paedophilia cases surfacing in the past 48 hours, including Sundar, Faisalabad, Dera Ismail Khan, Gujranwala/Manga Mandi, Kasur, Peshawar and Shujaabad, to list just the tip of the iceberg.

During a huge demonstration in F-6 Markaz on Monday, civil society activists pledged to continue a series of demonstrations, and invited members of the public to join in solidarity and raise their voices against this inhumanity, as well as to protest the blatant corruption, callousness, indifference and utter failure of the law enforcing agencies in identifying and arresting the perpetrators, and of the hospital security team, medico-legal examiners, forensic/chemical examiners and other government agencies. They demanded transparency in releasing the missing video clips of Ganga Ram hospital security cameras and strongly condemned the wilful destruction of valuable forensic/chemical/DNA evidence, including the survivor’s clothes.

It is such deliberate mala fide actions, along with political and bureaucratic pressure on the highly corrupt and politicized police forces, that result in faulty investigation and prosecution, culminating in a conviction rate of under 5% of even the small fraction of the rape cases that are reported and actually registered.  This, along with patriarchal attitudes, social stigma and the remnants of the 1979 Hudood Ordinances, results in non-reporting of the vast majority of cases of rape and paedophilia.

We demand:

1.    Immediate arrest, prosecution and conviction of the Mughalpura and other paedophilia/rape perpetrators.

2.    Immediate protection of the all-important visual, chemical or forensic/DNA evidence.

3.    Rape and paedophilia are extremely heinous crimes, not just against an individual, but against society and the State; thus the survivor’s family must not be pressurized to accept any out-of-court settlement/compensation through the police or perpetrators’ influence.

4.    The federal and provincial Governments must URGENTLY enact the long-pending Children’s Protection laws, including maximum punishments of life-long imprisonment until death, without possibility of parole, remission or pardon for paedophilia, rape and gang-rape convicts.

5.    Paedophilia perpetrators must compulsorily undergo psychiatric treatment in prison.

6.    The Government must provide free, highest quality surgical, medical and post-trauma psychiatric treatment for the survivors’ rehabilitation and support for their immediate families too.

7.    The media, government, and politicians must respect the survivor and her family’s privacy and dignity, by not exploiting them in media-rating wars, or political point-scoring photo opportunities.

8.    The print and electronic media must adhere to the Gender-Sensitive Code of Ethics they have VOLUNTARILY adopted since 2004; i.e. no identification, naming or depiction of GBV survivors.

9.    The electronic media should devote 5% of airtime to public service messages for awareness raising and sensitization to change societal attitudes towards women and children, especially girls.

10. The federal and provincial Governments need to change education curricula towards positive portrayal of the girl child and women; human rights; ethics; tolerance; and humanity.

National Organization for Working Communities (NOWCommunities)

Karachi, Pakistan