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Protection, jobs sought for transgender people

Bureau Report 2015-11-21
PESHAWAR: Representatives of civil society organisations on Friday expressed concern over the problems being faced by transgender people and said that they had also been facing issues due to the mass displacement, destruction of homes and unavailability of proper sources of livelihoods.

They were speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club. They called for an end to violence and discrimination against transgender people and urged the government to take appropriate legal steps for giving them jobs and due status in the society.

Farzana, the provincial coordinator of Transaction Alliance and president of Shemale Association, said that various UN agencies had failed to address the issues pertaining to protection and emergency needs of transgender people in the humanitarian context.

The disaster management authorities must ensure the provision of emergency relief to vulnerable transgender people, including shelter and nutritional and medical support and protection.

`If the UN failed to listen to our demands our next demonstration will be at the gates of provincial and national offices to highlight the incompetence of UN organizations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,` Farzana warned.

Qamar Naseem, coordinator of Men UNiTE (Men against Violence and Abuse Alliance), said that the response of gender task force, protection cluster, GBV sub-cluster and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) was disappointing as they failed to respond positively so far.

`We will raise the issue with the UN resident director and with humanitarian country team and their international headquarters,` he said.

Taimur Kamal, coordinator of the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, claimed that guidelines and humanitarian protocols of UN and disaster management authoritieswere gender blind. He said that by excluding the transgender population the government and UN agencies and NGOs were violating the right to dignity as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Zar Ali Khan, chairman of Tribal NGOs Consortium, said that disaster management authorities and UN agencies needed to show sensitivity to the needs of transgender population as they were equal citizens of Pakistan and were entitled to protection under Articles 4 and 9 of the Constitution.

Tahira Kaleem of Blue Veins said that global commitment of the UN agencies related to transgender rights were not reflected by their local offices.