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October-23-03

Pakistan: Majority of Jailed Women are Rape Victims

The National Commission on the Status of Women in Pakistan recently issued a report on the Hudood Ordinances, stating that as many as 88 percent of female prisoners are serving time for violating the 1977 Zina Ordinance, which makes fornication a crime and adultery a state offence. The Zina Ordinance-- one of five covered under the Hudood-- does not distinguish between rape and adultery, reported the Pakistan Christian Post. Consequently, "there have been hundreds of incidents where a woman subjected to rape or even gang rape was eventually accused of Zina and subjected to wrong and unjust persecution and great ordeal." In fact, one provision under the Hudood Ordinances requires a woman to have four male witnesses to prove rape; otherwise, her rape is considered an act of adultery.

Women's rights, human rights groups, and national commissions are calling for repeal of the Hudood Ordinances.

Media Resources: DAWN Newspapers 10/8/03; Daily Times of Pakistan 10/18/03

   

     

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