ISLAMABAD: UN Women Pakistan has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of Ombudsperson Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for the protection of women against sexual harassment at the workplace on Wednesday.

Aisha Mukhtar, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan, and Rukhshanda Naz, first Ombudsperson of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has signed the MoU. Under the MoU, the database for reported cases will be supported to assess trends of sexual harassment at the workplace along with the capacity building of inquiry committees to deal with cases of sexual harassment.

UN Women and Office of Ombudsperson KP will also collaborate for raising public awareness on sexual harassment laws and compliance requirements. The signatories have agreed to form working groups which will be responsible for monitoring the development and execution of agreed activities.

At the signing ceremony, Rukhshanda stated that now that the office of Ombudsperson in the province is active, we would like to emphasis the execution and smooth implementation of the Workplace Harassment Law so that the environment is safe for women to reach their full potential and contribute to the economy.

In KP, through the law for the protection of women against harassment at workplace was passed, however, the office of ombudsperson was lying vacant for several years. The provincial government has recently appointed renowned rights activities Rukhshanda Naz as the ombudsperson to receive complaints and provide justice to women being harassed at the workplace.

Aisha Mukhtar welcomed the appointment of Rukhshanda as the first Ombudsperson for KP and reiterated UN Women’s commitment towards strengthening institutions and mechanisms for preventing and addressing sexual harassment at the workplace. “Women have a legal right to a safe working environment, which is free of sexual harassment and the Office of Ombudsperson has a crucial role to play in ensuring effective implementation of sexual harassment laws.”