Tag Archives: Pakistan Woman PeaceMaker

2009 Woman PeaceMaker: Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan

27 Oct

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and TWO for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti, a human rights and peace advocate, was selected as a
2009 Women Peacemaker together with three other women from around the world by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Creating a Culture of Peace

The Culture of Peace is a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations. (UN Resolutions A/RES/52/13).

Ms. Bhatti is a founding member and general secretary of Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO), a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the development of a Culture of Peace, interfaith harmony, women’s rights, health and equality through its educational programs that creatively address issues of intolerance, sectarianism and discriminatory laws against both women and minorities. The educational and cultural programs of TWO help empower women to report on violence against women, provide counseling, legal aid and economic development assistance. Ms. Bhatti also works with media to raise awareness about these issues.

Taangh Wasaib: Women Peace Maker 2009

A turning point in Ms. Bhatti’s life came when she read the book “The Vision of Peace” by Nobel Prize Laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire. Ms. Corrigan Maguire stood up to the religious intolerance and bloody conflict in Northern Ireland in order to save her country from sectarianism. The personal life story of Ms. Maguire enabled Ms. Bhatti to decide to fully engage in the struggle for social justice in Pakistan in order to truly create a culture of peace within herself and within her community.

Since 1991 Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan has tirelessly dedicated her life to protecting the rights of women and minorities in Pakistan. She began her work when she helped fight blasphemy laws that targeted a Christian Pakistani man who was falsely accused of committing an offense against Islam.

In addition, Ms. Bhatti succeeded in helping to restore the joint electorate system in Pakistan. As of 2002 Muslims and Christians are legally allowed to vote for one another, thus creating a more just electoral system.

Taangh Wasaib: 16 days Campaign

Due to Ms. Bhatti’s efforts, people of all faiths in Pakistan are realizing the importance of protecting women from the effects of the 400 year old tradition of Wan’ni, where women are used to settle disputes and prevent revenge killings between families. Unfortunately, women given to the family “wronged” by another family, are trapped for the rest of their lives as bartering chips in order to end the cycle of revenge. In this inhumane cultural tradition the man who might have killed someone, is never brought to trial. Instead, their female family member pays the debt for the rest of her life by living as a virtual slave to the “wronged” family. As her movie “Wan’ni: Murdered Marriages” poignantly depicts, the woman given to the other family lives a life of sorrow because she cannot see her family or have her own family. The film also depicts Honor Killings and maiming and sheds light on the inhumane practices that lead to psychological, physical and emotional violence against women.

Taangh Wasaib: Wan`ni Murdered Marriages

Ms. Bhatti is working with legislators to change discriminatory laws against women and minorities in Pakistan.

Pakistani students supporting human rights and TWO Rally

University of Sargodha students join TWO Rally to Stop Violence Against Women

Ms. Bhatti’s approach to solving the issues of violence against women in Pakistan shows her determined step by step method of confronting every challenge that arises in the course of finding the best way to help others. First she established legal aid centers for women so they would understand their human rights to not be subjected to violence. However, Ms. Bhatti also realized women needed other forms of assistance to enable them to live happy lives. She then created counseling centers and educational skill-building centers. Then, in order to assist women to begin their own businesses, Ms. Bhatti established micro-lending programs to help women get started with their ventures.

In 1998, while teaching Chemistry, Ms. Bhatti started a dialogue Study Circle Group with students where the participants of all faiths discussed the problems confronting women and minorities in Pakistan of religious intolerance and sectarianism. The students assisted in gathering information to help solve the problems they identified. This process which continues today is a grassroots approach rooted in the local communities. There are now more than 1,500 volunteers working with the TWO in Pakistan.

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

The Transformative Power of Art and Theatre

Ms. Bhatti and her Study Circle Groups have written and performed more than 50 meaningful interactive theatre presentations on peace and human rights where the audience gets to complete the theatre piece through their own suggestions for how the play unfolds. This method builds trust and friendship between those attending the performances which have taken place throughout the Punjab and North-West Frontier Provinces.

Educational Programs in Schools and Communities

Ms. Bhatti has brought Human Rights education into more than 200 schools in Pakistan from primary, elementary to high school level students. Children perform interactive educational theatre presentations in their schools to bring awareness of human rights issues and how to protect the rights of all people, both men and women.

After presenting an educational program to a group of children who work in a brick kiln factory in Pakistan, Ms. Bhatti realized the need for these youth to have access to a school. One young boy approached her after the event and asked her, “What is school? Who studies in school? What are books?” She realized that bringing awareness of education was not enough to help these young people, so she arranged with the owner of the brick kiln to provide a room where children wishing to go to school would have the opportunity. A teacher was hired to come to the school room, and as of 2009, five children from this brick kiln community have passed the high school exam. This achievement is historic and unprecedented due to the difficult living conditions in many of these labour communal situations. However, through her determined effort to help even one child break the bonds of illiteracy, Ms. Bhatti and the TWO have forged a path for these young people to be able to know the joys of learning.

The Interconnection Between Religious Traditions

Ms. Bhatti read Punjabi literature of the Sufis which she feels truly gives a message of “peace, love and harmony.” She draws influences for her art and theatre productions from the stories and spiritual music of Sufism. She said that the scripts of Sufism reach people’s hearts and have the ability to bring people together, regardless of religious backgrounds.

2009 Woman PeaceMaker Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan speaks at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

The Next Steps for Peace

Ms. Bhatti wrote in her personal story of  being a Woman PeaceMaker,

“I have been focusing on promoting a culture of dialogue, collaboration and development partnership among and between various sections of the society and democratic governance. Through these dialogues, people’s perceptions about social problems (effects and causes), roles and functions of social and political institutions would be promoted.”

Today Ms. Bhatti is also concerned about the devastating effects of war on women, children and all humanity. She said that the root causes of war–poverty and lack of education–need to be addressed in order to stop violence both in Pakistan and the world.” Ms. Bhatti said,

“I want to do something for the next generation. Interfaith dialogue turns into friendship which then turns into helping humanity. Our Study Circle Groups continue to help identify commonalities amongst people of different religions.”


In 2005 Ms. Bhatti was one of 1,000 international women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to protect human rights and create a lasting Culture of Peace. Today, through her many activities and dialogues throughout the world, she is continuing her efforts to create a true Culture of Peace in Pakistan and for all humanity.

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