Pakistan President Approves Anti-Rape Ordinance | Sexual assault news

The new ordinance establishes special courts to try cases of sexual abuse of women and children, requiring the completion of all proceedings within four months.

Islamabad, Pakistan – The President of Pakistan has adopted an ordinance to ensure the completion of rape proceedings within four months, while establishing a national register of sex offenders.

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

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

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

It also sets up a special government cell to expedite the processing of legal cases, giving it the power to intervene and order the medical examination of rape survivors within six hours of the complaint being registered.

The lack of adequate medical evidence has often been the basis for acquittal in rape cases in the country.

Last month, the government in the country’s most populous province of Punjab banned the use of the archaic and invasive “two-fingered” test by medical examiners to determine if a woman had been raped.

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

In September, the gang rape of a woman on a major highway in Punjab sparked national outrage.

Following the incident, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called for the chemical castration of repeat offenders in cases of violence, and members of his government in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf promised that the use of the death penalty would be extended to rape.

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

He also criminalized the disclosure of the identities of rape survivors.

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

“Pakistani activists estimate that there are about 1,000” honorary “killings each year.”

The country ranks 130th on the UNDP Gender Inequality Index and 15th, or third on the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He sends @AsadHashim on Twitter.

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