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Violence Against Women and Girls

UN ‘urges’ Nepal to have VAW in all gender inclusion plans

Published in: The Kathmandu Post. November 27, 2013.

A 16-day campaign to end violence against women (VAW) kicked off on Monday with special emphasis on empowerment and safeguarding the rights of women to attain gender equality. Every year since 1991, the period between November 25 and December 10 is designated to celebrate the global campaign of 16 days of activism to end VAW in the country and beyond. The campaign begins with the celebration of the UN’s International Day against VAW and concludes with the International Human Rights Day on December 10.On the occasion, UN released a statement on Monday saying that violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation preventing countries from achieving gender equality, human rights, peace and security, and internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

Meanwhile, the UN body has urged the government of Nepal to include ending violence against women and girls as an essential target in any goal on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post-2015 development agenda. It has further stated to enforce relevant laws to end impunity, making justice accessible to women and girls by revisiting rape laws and providing free legal aid and specialised services, recognising survivors of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence and ending impunity for conflict-related sexual violence.

Violence against women and girls in all forms such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, physical and mental tortures, trafficking, rape and murders are common in Nepal despite the government’s commitment to end violence against them by ratifying both national and international human rights instruments including the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Earlier this year, Nepal agreed to a global roadmap of actions on the Status of Women and is working to finalize an action plan to address the CSW Agreed Conclusions, and facilitate a coordinated response to address violence against women and girls effectively and efficiently. The action plans include concrete goals for zero tolerance for violence against women, establishing one-stop crisis management centers for the protection of survivors/victims, gender mainstreaming in economic and social development programmes, and ensuring greater access to justice through free legal aid and fast track courts.

Despite strong advocacy and outcry from human rights activists, civil society groups and women rights activists, violence against women and girls remains widespread in Nepal and occurs with impunity.

According to the 2011 Nepal Demographic Health Survey, 22 per cent of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence at least once since age 15, and 9 per cent experienced it within the 12 months prior to the survey. One in ten women reported having experienced sexual violence, according to the UN statement.

Similarly, another report prepared by Women’s Rehabilitation Centre Nepal found that domestic violence topped the list of the forms of violence among Nepali women and girls in 2012.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Unpublished document blames legal loopholes

Published in: The Kathmandu Post. March 29, 2013.

A high-level committee formed to monitor and investigate cases of violence against women (VAW ) some three months ago will finally be making its report public. The report, which is expected to come out in two weeks, has blamed existing laws and legal loopholes, negligence of concerned bodies, lack of a smooth investigative mechanism and impunity for the rise in cases of violence against women, members of the committee said.

Following an unprecedented rise in reported cases of VAW, former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on December 30 had formed an eight member VAW probe team, led by a secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).“The report will recommend that the government undertake several reforms. There are many lapses in existing laws and its effective implementation,” said Raju Man Singh Malla, PMO secretary and member of the probe team.

According to committee members, the report further recommends that security forces be made more effective and capacitated to tackle such cases. Security mechanisms should be made responsible, accountable and answerable to the public by providing required orientation and trainings, they said.

Additionally, the panel has suggested that more women be appointed as security personnel at women’s prisons and initiative forensic services.

Malla said that his team is working on a draft of the final report and will incorporate findings submitted by the various sub-committees working under the committee. He said that they have 15 more days to submit the report to the current head of government, Khil Raj Regmi.

The probe panel had already submitted its interim report to then Prime Minister Bhattarai. That draft had pinpointed faulty laws, negligence of state mechanisms, poor investigation and a lack of security as being responsible for the robbery and rape of Sita Rai (name changed), the murders of Shiwa Hasami of Bardiya district‚ Bindu Kumari of Bara district, the alleged murder of Saraswoti Subedi of Anamnagar and the disappearance of Chhori Maya Maharjan of Kathmandu. These were the five emblematic cases of VAW raised by civil society.

The interim report had recommended amendments to immigration laws as trafficked women were being traumatised at the airport. Similarly, it mentioned the need for a special mechanism to oversee and monitor such cases and asked for a ‘Gender Based Violence Elimination Fund’ to rescue victims and provide medical facilities. It further alleged that existing governmental services for victims are understaffed, ill-equipped and ineffective.

‘Be part of creating solutions,’ stresses UN Women Executive Director in message for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

UN Women. 21 November 2013 downloaded from http://www.unwomensouthasia.org/2013/%E2%80%98be-part-of-creating-solutions%E2%80%99-stresses-un-women-executive-director-in-message-for-international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women-2/

In her first message as UN Women Executive Director for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka calls on the international community to be ‘part of creating solutions” to the pandemic of violence against women and girls, which today impacts one in three women worldwide.

In her message, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka urges global leaders to “mount a response that is proportionate to the violence threatening the lives of women and girls”. She reiterates that gender inequality is the root cause of violence against women and girls and needs to be addressed urgently. Solutions need to be comprehensive and multifold, from schools that teach respect for all, to better access for women to economic opportunities and justice, more women as peacekeepers and politicians, and an urgent need for women’s voices to be heard across society.

Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation. It is violence against families, communities, nations and humanity. It is a threat to international peace and security, as recognized by the UN Security Council. It has reached a crisis point and demands action from all of us, young and old, women and men.

Today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and every day, we must stand up, speak out and be part of creating solutions to end these human rights violations.

Leaders have a responsibility to take action to end all forms of violence against women and girls and to protect 50 per cent of the population. Today as part of the UNiTE campaign, the Secretary-General and I invite you to join us and show your solidarity by wearing orange for a brighter future. We invite you to declare with us that every woman and girl has the fundamental human right to live free from violence.

Today an estimated one in three women will be subject to violence in her lifetime. One in three girls will be married as a child bride before the age of 18. Approximately 125 million girls and women in the world have suffered female genital mutilation. Trafficking ensnares millions of women and girls in modern-day slavery. Rape is a rampant tactic in warfare. And femicide, the murder of women because they are women, is taking an increasingly brutal toll.

This violence knows no borders and it affects women and girls of all ages, all income levels, all races, and all faiths and cultures. From conflict zones to urban spaces to university campuses, this violence compels all of us to be preventers of this pandemic and to take action NOW. The vast majority of cases go unreported and unacknowledged and survivors are left wounded, invisible and suffering in silence. This situation is intolerable.

Today I call on world leaders to show determination and mount a response that is proportionate to the violence threatening the lives of women and girls. It is time to take the necessary measures, in line with international human rights standards and the agreement reached earlier this year in the Commission on the Status of Women, to prevent and end violence against women.

To be effective, prevention must address its root cause: gender inequality. We need education in schools that teaches human rights and mutual respect, and that inspires young people to be leaders for equality. We need equal economic opportunities and access to justice for women. We need women’s voices to be heard. We need more women politicians, police and peacekeepers.

Let us continue to explore innovative prevention strategies and employ technology, including mobile technology, to raise awareness and protect women’s rights.

We need to protect women and girls from being violated and when violence takes place, we need to ensure access to essential services for all survivors. This includes health services, shelters, hotlines, police, justice and legal aid. We must ensure that women and girls are safe and that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes and brought to justice.

Through the Safe Cities global initiative, we can reach women all over the world and reach law enforcers closest to where these crimes are committed. We have to reach out and work with men and boys and with young people.

It is a glaring omission that ending violence against women was not included in the Millennium Development Goals. I urge all UN Member States to make ending violence against women and girls a priority in the new development framework that comes after the MDGs expire in 2015. UN Women is calling for a stand-alone goal on women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality.

With determined leadership for prevention, protection, prosecution and provision of services for survivors, we can end this global pandemic. It is up to all of us. Together we can end violence against women and girls.