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Briefing on Alleged Forced Conversions & Trafficking of Minority Women

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The People’s Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR) in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice held a media briefing in Islamabad on the recent spate in cases of Forced Conversions & marriages and trafficking of Minority Women.

Recent cases in Punjab and Sindh have re-triggered concerns within the civil society and religious minorities about the urgent need to undertake practical measures for the prevention & elimination of manipulated faith conversions involving different types of human rights violations and heinous crimes. Speaking on the occasion, Peter Jacob (Chairperson, PCMR) emphasized on understanding the circumstances of faith conversions in the country and how other factors such as Violence against Women & Girls (VAWG), social discrimination and poverty play into the particular disadvantage of minority women.

PCMR shared a updates of an on-going study ‘Silence of the Lamb’ provides data pertaining to 110 cases of conversions between 2013 and 2019. This set of data includes 16 girls & women had approached the courts because they faced odd circumstances after their so-called conversion and reported marriages.

The study reveals that the majority of the incidents occurred in Sindh and Punjab provinces. The data also shows that forced faith conversion is often accompanied by other criminal activity, including, kidnapping, abduction, forced marriage, underage marriage, rape, gang-rape and assault. In addition to providing a working definition of forced conversion, the study also includes specific recommendations for relevant government departments at the federal and provincial levels.

The PCMR also shared electronic and print reports of the proceedings of a People’s Inquiry organised by PCMR in Lahore earlier this month. Prominent legal experts, journalists and civil society representatives attended the Peoples’ Inquiry on these crimes against minority women. In the end, conclusions and recommendations were issued by a Jury composed of Hina Jinali, former judges of Balochistan High Court Kailashnath Kohli, Jamshed Rehmatullah, Khawar Mumtaz (Chairperson, NCSW) and M Parkash Mehtani called upon the government to constitute present a legislation to prevent forced conversions & related crimes. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Pakistan was urged to supervise the on-going investigation on the cases of human trafficking of the Christian girls to China. Reparation of the girls who were defrauded into a marriage and transported abroad was also one of the demands put forth by the Jury.

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Dubai Police join hands with Berkelely Assets to serve up meals on holy occasion 

Dubai Police are joining hands with international private equity firm Berkeley Assets to provide Iftar dinners for 10,000 labourers on Friday on the occasion of Laylatul-Qadr.

With officers from Al Qusais Police Station handling traffic control and logistics, company management, staff and more than 100 volunteers will serve up the dinners at the Sonapur Labour camp to mark one of the holiest nights of the year for Muslims.

“We wanted to make this a meal that the labourers will remember, and we couldn’t do it without the fantastic support and encouragement we’ve received from Dubai Police,” said Omar Jackson, partner at Berkeley Assets.

More than 2,500 chickens and 4,000 kilos of rice will be used for the Biryani meals in one of the biggest ever Itar dinners served up by a private sector company in Dubai. With seating for 5,000, another 5,000 labourers will go home with meal boxes also containing dates, laban and water.

“We were motivated by a close friend who has been serving Iftar meals throughout Ramadan, and last Friday joined her and other volunteers and other supporters to deliver 1500 meals in Al Quoz,” said Jackson. “Afterwards we decided to do something ourselves on another scale, because it’s important to give back to the local community, especially at this time of year.”

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IG Punjab Captain (R) Arif Nawaz khan issued important directions after reviewing the performance of Dolphin Force

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Dolphin force is allowed only to return fire In case of firing and attack on them from criminals. IG Punjab

Dolphin Force is objected to control street crimes and to promote community based policing. IG Punjab 

Inspector General of Police Punjab Captain (R) Arif Nawaz Khan said that effective patrolling and timely actions of Dolphin Force helped significantly to arrest street crime rate in Lahore and other metropolitans of Punjab, however officials abusing the power or not following SOP,s has no place in the department. He further directed to take stern departmental and legal action against the officials responsible for the death of a woman in Dolphin firing, without any delay. All Dolphin officials should be thoroughly briefed that they can only fire when they are attacked or fired upon otherwise they don’t have any authority to fire, officials violating these orders should be ready for departmental and legal action. He further said that purpose of the Dolphin Force is to control street crime and also promote community policing so he also directed to ensure the effective patrolling for the security of markets along with the roads during Ramzan.  He expressed these views while giving directions to the senior police officers in a meeting held at Central Police Office today. At this occasion Addl IGP Operation Inam Ghani, Addl IGP Logistics Ghulam Rasool Zahid, CCPO Lahore BA Nasir, DIG Logistics Rai Babar Saeed, DIG Operations Lahore Ashfaque Khan and SP Dolphin Bilal Zafar were also present.

SP Dolphin Bilal Zafar briefed IGP about the performance of Dolphin Force, he shared that due to the community based policing graph of street crimes plummeted. He further said that for the capacity building of officials of Dolphin Force every year a 4 weeks refresher course is held in which they train for one week each at Police Training College Chung & Elite Training College Bedian and for two weeks at the District Police Lines, Lahore about crime control and latest professional skills and about ethics. SP Dolphin shared in briefing that currently 2416 Dolphin officials patrol in 277 beats of the city. IG Punjab further said that Dolphin Force should establish itself as a symbol of protection for law abiding citizen and threat for criminal elements. He further said that in refresher courses Dolphin officials should be specially trained to hit the target in stress position so that no passerby gets any harm. He further said that Dolphin Force is a modern force with latest skills and training objected to protect the life property and honour of citizens at any cost. Dolphin Force officials should perform with honesty hard work and commitment using their professional skills and training, good performers will be rewarded and official’s causing harm or misbehaving with citizens will dealt without any leniency.




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Transfer/posting orders of 09 Police Officers

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Inspector General Police, Punjab Captain (R) Arif Nawaz Khan has issued transfer/posting orders of 09 Police Officers. According to details, Additional SP Rawal Town Rawalpindi Muhammad Usman Tariq Butt, is transferred and posted as Additional SP Civil Lines Division Gujranwala, SP Investigation Bhakar Muhammad Akram Khan Niazi, is transfered to Central Police Office Lahore, SDPO Qila Gujjar Singh, Lahore Fakhr Bashir Raja, is transferred and posted as SDPO Chung Lahore, awaiting posting, DSP Asadullah, is posted as SDPO Mitha Tawana Khushab, DSP Organized Crime Pakpattan Ghulam Mohammad, is transferred and posted as SDPO Arifwala Pakpattan, DSP City, CTP Multan Muhammad Tariq is transferred and posted as SDPO Jampur, Rajanpur, services of two DSPs Mohammad Arshad, and Taseer Ahmed Dar are placed at the disposal of DIG Traffic Police Punjab for further posting, while  DSP Legal-I Lodhran Tauqir Anwar is transferred an dposted as DSP Legal Bahawalpur with immediate effect.

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UAE’s citizens of change are celebrated at Dubai awards event

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  • Winner of CITIZEN’s “Better Starts Now” competition Shobhika Kalra received AED 25,000 for ‘Wings of Angelz’
  • The “Better Starts Now” initiative attracted hundreds of entries through social and traditional media
  • The campaign highlighted the multitudes of UAE individuals committed to carrying out good deeds and making positive change

Citizens of the UAE who have shown indomitable spirit and determination either founding or benefiting a wealth of charities and causes, were celebrated at CITIZEN’s Better Starts Now Awards event.
The Japanese watch brand launched a campaign to mark its one hundredth year of ambitious watch-making at the end of 2018. It involved seeking out those members of the public who exemplify its “Better Starts Now” philosophy, a belief that there should always be an endeavor to improve the world we inhabit. CITIZEN can lay claim to many driven and pioneering feats, including being the first watch company to introduce light powered and satellite technology. Its latest innovation is the most precise light-powered watch in the world, with an annual accuracy of one second.
The Better Starts Now awards event saw ten deserving finalists who had entered the competition come together to have their compelling and uplifting stories told to guests, judges and CITIZEN’s management, before a winner was announced. The finalists comprised:

 Najeeb Mohammed Ismail, founder of Good Deeds ISER, an environmental campaigner, who for 15 years has raised awareness about damage to the environment and encouraged the local population to dispose of rubbish responsibly
 Manmeet Singh, a bakery Founder who provides UAE workers with cakes to mark their birthday
 Nicole Fiorentino, a dyslexic who established Widad Centre to help children who have been asked to leave main-stream schooling due to learning difficulties
 Shreya Maheshwari, founder of Arunoday, a foundation that educates underprivileged children, and also a mental health coach
 Riva Tuple, a social entrepreneur who is saving lives in rural India by educating women and children about menstrual hygiene
 Nandini Garg, founder of Charitree, an initiative which sells pencils comprised of recycled paper and a seed for planting, the profits being used to support the Ramadan Sharing Fridge initiative and other causes
 Corazon Verana Tarcena, a Filipina who fund-raises in order to send clothes and computers to the underprivileged in her home country
 Sabine Nehme, founder of inspirational parenting advice blog and TV show, MothertoAnother
 Shobhika Kalra, founder of Wings of Angelz, an organization working to bring wheelchair access to people of determination in the UAE and across the world
 Saeed Shaqsi, founder of Dubai-based Hope Volunteering Initiative, providing humanitarian aid to those in need, including poor communities of Africa.
The winner, Shobhika Kalra, was presented with a prize of AED 25,000 for her cause, ‘Wings of Angels’ – a CDA licensed nonprofit entity that aims to make the world more wheelchair accessible, one ramp at a time. Shobhika intends to utilise the funds to launch an app to build a database of places that require ramps.
CITIZEN’s General Manager (Middle East) Keiji Kato commented: “The Better Starts Now campaign believes that no matter who you are or what you do it’s always possible to make something better, and now it the time to start doing it. The campaign attracted a fantastic response from many people representing many nationalities and backgrounds, all of whom had put our philosophy into practice. Meeting them and listening to their individual stories has been incredibly inspirational, and we are very pleased to be supporting the winner, Shobhika Kalra with their very worthy cause.”

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Nursery children spread happiness in a box among labourers

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  • Children at British Orchard Nursery along with their parents distributed Iftar packages among labourers at construction sites and people at nearby mosques

Dubai, UAE: Young children at British Orchard Nursery learnt precious lessons in generosity and sharing as they happily distributed Iftar packages among labourers and other people who were fasting. In order to inculcate the spirit of Ramadan among kids, the Nursery organised the campaign, “Sharing is caring” across several of its branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah where students, parents and the preschool teamed up to arrange Iftar for the needy and those who were fasting.

Boxes containing foods suitable for Iftar, such as dates, laban, water, juices, bread, biscuits, etc., were packed by children at the Nursery branches and then students, their parents and teachers visited nearby mosques and construction sites to distribute the packages. In addition, nursery children prepared a huge box of edibles and goodies for the Imam of the mosques as well.

Besides this, British Orchard Nursery has also collaborated with Uniliver to donate clothes to the needy.

“When it comes to life-long lessons such as learning to share and being generous, doing it practically always leaves a deeper imprint on young minds,” commented Dr Vandana Gandhi, Founder and CEO of British Orchard Nursery chain, “It was encouraging to watch that this time parents were actively involved in the exercise as well, supporting their children to help others. I believe it’s important to sensitise children to the needs of the less privileged so that they can grow up to be more sensitive human beings with concern for other’s welfare.”

With 2019 declared the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, the campaign further compliments the government’s initiative to create a more harmonious society which is tolerant of each other’s views and needs, and willing to help in every way possible. Moreover, the Nursery celebrated the International Family Day, where parents and children came together to celebrate the unity and diversity during the month of Ramadan.

British Orchard Nursery supports orphanages, old age homes, animal shelters and charitable causes towards the needy through donating a percentage of its revenue. The Nursery’s employees also give back to the community by volunteering their time, participating in events such as the Walk for Education and Walk for Autism, among other initiatives.

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KidZania Kuwait brings MED-EL Cochlear Implant Community together at an exciting Family Day

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KidZania Kuwait, the exciting kid-sized metropolis, welcomed MED-EL Medical Electronics by recently hosting a fun family day for all its cochlear implant users in Kuwait. The event took place at KidZania where the cochlear implant community along with their families connected in an engaging experiential learning environment full of fun activities for everyone.

The event commenced with a welcome note and  presentation by the MED-EL Middle East management on awareness regarding hearing loss and valuable tips on how to make the most of the users hearing implants.  Following that, there were many enjoyable activities for the kids from face painting to arts and crafts guaranteeing endless entertainment, coiled with an educational element in each activity. The children were also very excited to try out the limited time only space themed attractions as part of the Space Expedition variable program.

Tamer Al Shahat, Managing Director of MED-EL Middle East said: ” We are very happy to host our first ever family fun day in Kuwait and we thank KidZania for helping us get the community together at a fun event. We believe it is essential that we raise awareness about hearing loss in the community as there are still some who are unaware of how well these solutions work. With cochlear implants the patient can immerse themselves in their community and be free to live a normal life. At KidZania, the families were not only entertained, but children were also educated on different life skills and learnt about the practicality of the work environment in a fun way.”

Fernando Medroa, Vice President of Leisure & Entertainment at Alshaya Group said: We at KidZania are very happy to create a positive difference in our local community and support social welfare. This initiative falls under our corporate social responsibility framework giving importance to valuable engagement and supporting community causes. We are very happy to provide a platform for Med-El to host this Family Fun Day for the cochlear implant users and bring the cochlear implant community together at KidZania.”

The families were entertained with astounding shows and performances held by KidZania’s six RightZkeepers: Urbano, Vita, Chika, Beebop, Bekha and Bache who promote the children’s essential rights to know, to care, to share, to create, to be and to play. Children also enjoyed memorable photo opportunities with the RightZkeepers.

KidZania sparks a kid’s inquisitive mind and creativity and helps develop and implement their social, intellectual and professional skills in a fun and diverse work environment.

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Ellington highlights local talent with the unveiling of unique art installation by AUS students in Belgravia II

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Impressive sculpture is part of 92 art pieces created by the students of American University of Sharjah’s Interior Design & Photography Department

As an art and design-led property developer, Ellington is committed to working with universities and schools to support youth talent in art and design


Ellington, Dubai’s leading design-led property developer, has put the spotlight on local artistic and design talent with the unveiling of a collection of 92 art works by the students of American University of Sharjah’s Interior Design & Photography Department at Belgravia II in Jumeirah Village Circle.

The artworks, which include a compelling ceiling installation named ‘Hamama’, in the main lobby of Belgravia II, was officially unveiled at a ceremony held at the newly-handed over residential community. The senior management of Ellington, the Dean, faculty and students of American University of Sharjah and the residents of Belgravia II attended the unveiling.

The central art installation is part of over 92 art works showcased by the students, including over 90 creative black and white photographs with gold and silver leafing, themed ‘unveiled’ that add to the elegant setting of the residential destination.

Under the guidance of Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of the American University of Sharjah’s College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) and mentored by Juan Roldán, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Interior Design Steering Committee at AUS and other teaching faculty, the students created the sculpture and other artworks.

The students associated with the art installation are Mariam AlJuwaied, Priyanka Soni, Rima Chalha, Sana Fathima and Camilo Cerro, with the support of Bishoy Girgis at CAAD Labs, while Aisha Alyassi was responsible for the art direction and photography of the photographic works.

The specially commissioned art project was executed over six months, which included planning and preliminary design, while the actual installation of ‘Hamama’ on-site took only one full day. More than four students were involved in the sculptural work, working an average of two hours a day and sourcing all materials locally.

‘Hamama’, challenges the materiality of the acrylic it´s made from and becomes an organic expression of a controlled agitation of a flock of doves, which sprouts from its core. It is made up of tri-part units that have been heat-bent into dynamic shapes and linked together to generate its visual dynamism. The design team designed, fabricated and tested several prototypes of the pieces taking advantage of the facilities housed within the College of Architecture, Art and Design.

‘unveiled’ features a series of photographs that are based on the UAE’s beauty – from its cityscape sand dunes to peculiar details that perhaps go unnoticed. Each photograph plays a role in revealing a certain concealed beauty within the country through the use of incandescent textures.

Robert Booth, Managing Director of Ellington, said: “We are thankful to the faculty and students of American University of Sharjah for the passion, enthusiasm and commitment to undertaking this project. By commissioning local and upcoming talent, especially from the student community, we are highlighting our focus on engaging the community to support our goal of creating exceptionally designed communities.”

“We believe that the hands-on involvement of the students in real-world residential projects will add to their knowledge base and confidence while we benefit from the creativity and spirit of innovation that marks the new generation. We look forward to partnering with more universities and educational institutions on similar projects, thereby offering tangible platforms to promote industry-academia linkages that support the student community,” added Booth.

Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of the American University of Sharjah’s College of Architecture, said: “The quality of our lives is definitely influenced by design and arts in profound ways. That is why at the College of Architecture, Art and Design of AUS, we are focused on exploring the transformative potential of design. The opportunity for our students to work with Ellington on Belgravia II has indeed been a rewarding exercise for them, as it opened doors for them to reimagine the possibility of design in lifestyle communities. Such support from the industry is invaluable as it further prepares our students for future careers. Ellington has set a model in how academic learning and practical experience of our students can be leveraged for positively influencing the community.”

Located centrally in Jumeirah Village Circle, the aesthetically designed Belgravia II has now come to life with 188 homes handed over. At the heart of the community is a central courtyard, which features a swimming pool, children’s play area, fitness studio and dedicated yoga centre. The development comprises studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, as well as two-storey, two-bedroom private townhouses, each with enclosed private terraces.

Other properties in Ellington’s Belgravia series include the popular Belgravia Square, which was launched late last year, and Belgravia Heights II, launched in June 2018. Ellington’s development portfolio includes DT1, located in close proximity to Downtown Dubai and Business Bay, and scheduled for hand-over this year.

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Sharjah Art Foundation’s Photography Exhibition Vantage Point Sharjah 7 (VPS7) Still Accepting Open Call Submissions

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Submissions from international applicants to be accepted for the first time

 Submission deadline: 1 June 2019

 Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual photography exhibition, Vantage Point Sharjah, returns this summer for its seventh edition. An open call is being extended not only to residents of the UAE and GCC countries but also to international applicants for the first time. The foundation welcomes submissions through 1 June 2019. Selected photographs will be presented in an exhibition this summer at the foundation.

Interested photographers should submit up to six digital photographs in 300 dpi resolution and an application form, where they should provide a short description of their work(s), the location where each photograph was taken and a brief biography. More information and the application form can be found at Materials can be submitted via email to

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School Transport Services (STS) kicks off kindness campaign during Ramadan in the Year of Tolerance

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  • STS launches month-long ‘Stuff the Bus with Kindness’ campaign that brings together students of 100 different nationalities to highlight unity, kindness and helping those in need
  • STS underlines importance of educating students to do good deeds for others

School Transport Services (STS) has launched the ‘Stuff the Bus with Kindness’ campaign during the Holy Month of Ramadan and to coincide with the Year of Tolerance marked by the UAE in 2019.

As part of the campaign, 100 students of 100 different nationalities from GEMS Founders School Al Barsha are encouraged to adopt an act of kindness which they will write down on a leaf. The STS school bus will be stuffed with all these ‘kindness leaves’ that will be used to make a formation of the logo of the ‘Year of Tolerance’ on a 3m x 3 me area, which will then be stationed in the bus throughout the month.

To keep the momentum going throughout Ramadan, STS will encourage students to be super kind by doing good deeds and to collect items for donation. This bus will travel to over 82 schools in the UAE during Ramadan and students and parents are encouraged to donate school items and supplies to be donated to Emirates Red Crescent.

Further, students from various schools across the UAE are making a formation of the logo of the ‘Year of Tolerance’ – the Ghaf tree, a symbol of giving and coexistence – using school supplies collected from 82 schools in the region.

The month-long campaign centres around bringing together students of over 104 nationalities living in the UAE to help those in need.

Steve Burnell, Managing Director of School Transport Services, said: “The Holy Month of Ramadan is important to us and the Stuff the Bus Campaign is time to focus and support those that require support those less privileged around the world. This year, in light of the UAE Year of Tolerance, it is fantastic to see so many students from over 100 nationalities living in the UAE, come together to help the less fortunate by donating items to Emirates Red Crescent.”

With this, STS is highlighting the importance in educating students on kindness, and how communities can come together to help others. It encourages every individual to be a kindness ‘hero’ by collecting items for donation.

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