On February 13, 2012, Canadian International Development Agency Head of Aid Rhonda Gossen-Ehsani and Political Officer Andrew Ng visited the Mukhtar Mai Women's Crisis Relief Center, which Canada has supported through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
"Canada stands behind the efforts of brave women, such as Mukhtar Mai, who are working to uphold human rights and empower women and girls in Pakistan," stated Canadian High Commissioner Ross Hynes. "Women's economic empowerment is one of two priority areas of focus for the Canadian International Development Agency inPakistan."
The Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization runs a crisis relief center for women in the village of Meerwala, district Muzaffargarh. The center provides guidance and counselling, legal assistance and basic necessities like food and clothes to women in need from Southern Punjab. The center also provides medical assistance by a female doctor, basic literacy training to help women understand their rights, and recreational facilities to help recovery from trauma.
"Canada joined with Pakistanis in marking Pakistan Women's Day on February 12," added High Commissioner Hynes. "Canada commends recent accomplishments by the Government of Pakistan to uphold women's rights, including the passage of the Anti-Women Practices Bill, Acid Crime Prevention Bill and National Commission for Women Bill. Canadawill continue to work withPakistanto reduce the wide gap in gender equality and reduce human rights violations."
Since 2009, women’s economic empowerment contributing to sustainable economic growth has been one of two program priorities for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in Pakistan. Canadais committed to identifying and supporting tangible actions to get women equitable access to credit, implement fair labour laws and social protection systems, and enable business environments that meet the needs of women entrepreneurs. These actions will support women to make a significant contribution to Pakistan's economic growth. This year, Canada marks 60 years of continuous development partnership with Pakistan.
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