Pakistan: Android app to report violence against transgender people

A civil society organisation on Friday launched an Android-based application, Trans-Muhafiz, to help report violence against transgender people, according to newssite

Women’s health advocacy group, Blue Veins’ programme coordinator, Qamar Naseem, told reporters at the Peshawar Press Club that transgender people were a marginalised community in the country.

He said the community lived life under very difficult circumstances, amid high incidences of harassment, violence, service denial, and unfair treatment, in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation.

Mr Naseem said the Trans-Muhafiz app was the first of its kind in the country, unique and simple to use in case of emergency, which could be easily downloaded and installed.

“This Android application has been developed to improve the reporting of violence against transgender community. It has both online and offline reporting options. An online violence reporting system will create a more empowering reporting experience for transgender survivors, provide authorities with better evidence and data on violence, and facilitate the identification of perpetrators,” he said.

The software programme has both online and offline reporting options

The Blue Veins representative said the use of the latest technology would help empower the transgender community in raising its voice against violence, by developing an easier and more accessible reporting system for them.

“This app’s users will have to add emergency contacts of the people, who will get alerts in case of emergency. In online report system of the app, not only text messages can be sent but violence can also be reported through voice massage, picture and video. In case of unavailability of Internet facility, the user can turn to offline option, which will on pressing offline option send SMS to added emergency contacts along with the location of accident,” he said.

Mr Naseem said Blue Veins would host and maintain the app during and beyond the project’s timeline, and that it would help the transgender community report the violence case by rescue option at the time of violence, or can also report it by sending video or voice messages.

TransAction Alliance provincial general secretary, Arzu Khan, said a large number of violence cases were reported in various districts of the province by people through mobile phone calls, Whatsapp groups, Facebook, and word of mouth, and most of them weren’t documented.

She said 54 transgender persons had been killed in KP since 2015, while 607 cases of violence had been reported by the community.

Arzu said seven transgender persons were killed in KP in 2017, while there were 208 cases of different kinds of violence, including sexual harassment, rape, gang rape, torture, extortion, denial of access to services, and misbehaviour at police stations and public spaces.

TransAction Alliance Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President, Farzana Jan, welcomed the launch of Trans-Muhafiz, and declared it a historical and defining moment for the transgender community.

“For the first time in the country’s history, we’ve an Android application promising our personal safety,” he said.

Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network coordinator, Taimur Kamal, said the right to life, protection and security were the fundamental rights of the people under the Constitution, but transgender persons were killed or subjected to violence everyday in violation of their basic rights.

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