Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka congratulating the Government of Pakistan on passage of anti-honour killing and anti-rape bills


On behalf of UN Women, I congratulate the Government of Pakistan in passing historic and much awaited anti-honour killing and anti-rape bills. I applaud Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for keeping the commitment he made at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action at the United Nations in September 2015 to announce concrete and measurable actions to end discrimination and violence against the women of Pakistan.

In seeking to curb the murder of women and girls in the name of honour and to punish rapists by making DNA testing mandatory in rape cases, the new laws are an important step towards ensuring the protection of and justice for the women of Pakistan. I am pleased that UN Women, along with other UN agencies, played a small part in supporting this process, and we look forward to working with Pakistan to ensure that the laws are effectively implemented.

Overturning discriminatory laws and passing legislation that actively promotes women’s rights is a key part of reaching our 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and especially Goal 5 for gender equality and women’s empowerment. With these bills, Pakistan joins a vital growing momentum around the world in the adoption of legislation explicitly protecting women’s and girls’ rights.

While appreciating the passage of these bills, we recall that honour killings and rape, like all forms of violence against women and girls, are a symptom of wider gender inequality and discrimination. Strict legislation that declares and brings an end to impunity for violence against women and a redoubling of efforts to implement these laws are essential in order to create a world in which every person is valued equally and women exercise fundamental rights and freedoms.

UN Women stands ready to continue to support the Government of Pakistan, and all parliaments around the world, in the implementation of legislation supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment. We will monitor the passage of laws addressing gender equality in all parliaments, make it a point to communicate about our progress, and closely track results, so that this trend continues.