The Lahore Tribunal on Violence Against Women 1993-94, Simorgh 1995.
A tribunal on Violence Against Women, entitled “In the Court of Women” was organised by Simorgh in Lahore, Pakistan, from Dec. 29, 1993 to Jan. 7, 1994. Participants came from many Asian countries and the aim was to hold a series of tribunals in different countries of the region. The major aim of the tribunal was to emphasize that women’s rights are human rights and to challenge and change the terms of debate where, despite legalistic assurances that an individual is innocent until proved guilty, the spatial arrangements in a court room isolate both the victims and the alleged perpetrators of a crime by placing them in the dock while both judge and jury sit in judgment.
The tribunal reversed the roles between ‘society’, which normatively ‘judges’ the victims of crime by stressing its ‘responsibility’ for the multiple levels of violence against women. Eliminating the distance between the members of the jury, the witnesses and the audience did this. In many instances, members of the jury were also women who spoke as witnesses and sometimes also as victims. A number of languages including Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi were used and participants came forward to provide simultaneous translations whenever it was needed.
This book is a collection of the proceedings of the tribunal including some personal testimonies as well as the resolutions.