What To Do:
- Victims of Swara can seek protection under all the above Conventions, the Constitution, under Section 310 of the PPC and under the Child Marriage Act.
- A Nikah is not valid if it was performed before
the girl was 18 years of age, or free to refuse.
- A Swara victim can apply for dissolution of her Nikah before she is sent away to the aggrieved family.
- There are organizations and lawyers specializing in women’s rights and human rights that will fight a Swara case free of cost and help the victim come out of her situation.
- Victims or their supporters can email an appeal to the Human Rights Cell at the Supreme Court created by the Chief Justice and appeal to him to take suo motto notice.
- If she is afraid of repercussions at home, a Swara victim can seek shelter at a women’s shelter.
There are several organizations that provide help and support to women and girls who are victims of Swara free of cost. Several will also provide legal counsel and connect victims with legal representation.
- Look up the list of service providers and organizations that provide help and support to women survivors of violence here
- Contact women’s rights NGOs and ask them for advice and help
- Call the Madadgaar Helpline number that may take your case or direct you to a lawyer
- Call the APWA Helpline number which can get you in touch with a lawyer who will take on the case at a low fee or pro-bono
- Call Panah Shelter Home, which is a safe haven, free of cost
- Panah will also help you get in touch with a lawyer and provide guidance
A case against Swara can be made on the basis of violations of the Pakistan’s Constitution as well as International Laws and Conventions.
- Article 16 of UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) grants the right of marrying by one’s own choice to every individual, without any discrimination of gender, race, nationality and religion.
- The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Article 16 states that “All signatories shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:
- The same right to enter into marriage;
- The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent;
- The same right and responsibilities during marriage and its dissolution.