GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
The National Anti-Rape Campaign (NARC) was started September 22nd, 2013. The main objective was to increase existing levels of wariness on sexual violence and to create an environment for every citizen to internalize an understanding that sexual violence is a severe violation of women's rights. This breach in rights affects not only women but also society as a whole, physically, mentally, and socially.
Recent nationwide increase in cases of rape has been a serious concern. The data from the Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC Nepal) shows that in the last 10 months, there were 343 cases of rape, and 58 cases of attempted rape of women. These are only the cases that were reported. Most of the survivors are Dalit, poor, single, and/or young. The lack of effective laws, in addition to impunity afforded to perpetrators, clearly shows the bitter truth: that our country is moving away from justice, equality, and dignity of every Nepali. Lack of access to justice–social and legal– has compounded the situation.
The Anti-Rape Campaign began at a time when women and girls in Nepal were continuously at risk, and cruelty remained persistent in all layers of society. Due to the existing discriminatory laws against rape, the National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD) launched the first phase of the campaign against rape on September 22nd, 2013, on the occasion of International Peace Day, and ended on International Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2013. The second phase of the Anti-Rape Campaign started January 30th, 2014, and continues to this day. During this period, Action Works Nepal (AWON) participated in every meeting, rally, and protest.
As a part of the Anti-Rape Campaign, numerous activities including massive rallies, murals, and letters to the President and the Chief District Officer, in addition to other activities were held to raise awareness. However, demands for justice fell on deaf ears, and neglected women's rights activists served an ultimatum to the Prime Minister's office on April 14th, 2014, threatening to launch a sit-in protest on April 29, if the government did not amend the rape law, and address other demands meant to ensure justice to the survivors of sexual violence. Demands were not met. The leadership of National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders began their sit-in protest at Bhadrakali, Kathmandu on April 29th as promised.
The National Anti-Rape Campaign received a considerable amount of support from numerous organizations. The National Alliance for Women Human Rights Defenders was a lead organization, and more than 30 other organizations, women's groups , and networks from various districts actively participated, sitting in protest. AWON also participated in these activities in Jumla, Karnali, and Kathmandu.
Demands of the Campaign
- Immediate enactment of comprehensive, and effective new laws against rape that is aligned with human rights norms and standards
- Immediate establishment of a Fast Track Court
- Formulation of a new manual and guidelines that is gender sensitive, for investigation in cases of sexual violence with clear accountability mechanisms to ensure its proper and effective implementation
- Proper allocation of funds from the budget as per the state's commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to ensure all the rights of women and girls affected by rape and sexual exploitation
- Formulation of laws necessary to establish discrimination and/or stigmatization of rape survivors as a social crime, and the establishment of necessary legal provision to punish the perpetrators involved in such crimes
- Include sexual violence within the National Action Plan (UNSCR 1325 and 1820) and create mechanisms to investigate all cases of sexual violence. Also, create support structures that would allow survivors to report rape without any fear of retaliation, stigmatization, or re-vicimization
- Form a high level national committee to investigate all sexual violence committed during the conflict period
- Ensure at least 50% representation of women in the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and Disappearance Committee
- Develop a constitution ensuring all women's rights
Miteri Chhaupadi Free Campaign in Jumla and Kalikot, Karnali
Chhaupadi is the practice of delegating women and girls to cowsheds during menstruation and childbirth. Menstruation and childbirth are considered impure acts. Chhaupadi is a serious culture based form of Gender Based Violence (GBV) where silence and stigma are embedded in each successive generation.
Action Works Nepal (AWON) has been working to abolish Chhaupadi since our inception. We are currently working with and in the communities of Jumla and Kalikot. As a part of this campaign, AWON conducts research and involves not only the women, but schools, traditional healers, and men.