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 Over 100 Women Lawyers Convene at Balochistan’s Historic First Women Lawyers Conference

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Quetta: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Balochistan Bar Council organized Balochistan’s first Women Lawyers Conference under the European Union (EU) funded ‘Deliver Justice Project.’ The conference focused on bringing women lawyers from all across Balochistan together so that they could learn from each others’ lived experiences and develop ideas on how to make the justice sector in Balochistan more accessible and safer for women and marginalized individuals, may they be lawyers or litigants.

Over 100 women lawyers from across Balochistan gathered to celebrate their victories, highlight their barriers, and recommend solutions for a shift to a justice sector that responds well to the needs of women and other vulnerable groups in Balochistan. For this, the conference comprised panel discussions and a design thinking group work session with broad participation.

The Women Lawyers Conference is a flagship initiative of the UNDP Pakistan Rule of Law Programme, which has previously been held three times in 2016, 2019, and 2022 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to bring together women lawyers from across the province including the merged districts.

Dr Rubaba Khan Buledi, Advisor to the Balochistan Chief Minister for Women Development, attended the event as the chief guest. Rahib Khan Buledi, Chairperson Legal Education Committee, Balochistan Bar Council, and Zulfiqar Durrani, Head of Office, UNDP Sub-Office Balochistan, also attended the conference.

In her address, Dr Buledi underlined the importance of such initiatives to improve the representation of women in the justice sector. “We appreciate the commendable efforts of the European Union and UNDP Pakistan for bringing this flagship initiative to Balochistan. And we highly appreciate the tireless work of the Balochistan Bar Council for empowering women lawyers in the province. For any society to prosper and progress, every member of that society must be given equal opportunity to grow. Today, on this historic occasion of the first-ever Women Lawyers Conference in Balochistan, I would like to reaffirm the Government of Balochistan’s commitment to creating a women-friendly and safer environment for women lawyers and litigants to ensure justice for all.”

Jeroen Willems, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the EU in Pakistan, welcomed the participants to the conference via video message. “To come together as women lawyers in Balochistan is a milestone and it is bringing justice closer to women and actually to all people in Balochistan. This country and this province need more women like you so all the best to you!”

Van Nguyen, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan, in her video message, stated, “At UNDP, under the EU funded ‘Deliver Justice Project,’ we are working with the justice sector in Balochistan to develop the capacity of women lawyers, equipping them with skills to represent clients and provide legal aid, especially to women and other marginalized groups.” Thanking the Balochistan Bar Council and the EU for their long-standing partnership, Van Nguyen appreciated all women lawyers who are working tirelessly to overcome structural barriers in Balochistan, “You are an agent of change and we thank you for your service!”

The ‘Deliver Justice Project’ aims to support reform processes to ensure the delivery of people-centered justice, enhance access to justice for all, particularly women and marginalized groups, and improve service delivery of the security sector in line with constitutional safeguards and international standards. Implemented in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Merged Districts, the programme is funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The UNDP Rule of Law Programme is implementing a range of interventions to strengthen the security and justice sector governance in Pakistan.

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