Kathmandu, Dec. 10: Human rights (HR) activists and defenders have said that the overall HR situation in the country was not satisfactory even after a decade of the end of the armed conflict.
Talking to The Rising Nepal on Friday, they commended the way the constitution had guaranteed the rights but were worried that the implementation of the rights had been poor.
The following are excerpts from what they had to say on the human rights situation in Nepal on the occasion of International Human Rights Day today:
Disabled are yet to be mainstreamed: Sudarshan Subedi, chairperson of National Federation of the Disabled
Nepal ratified the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) some 10 years ago. The new constitution has also secured their social, health, educational and cultural rights. Still we are facing big challenges in mainstreaming disability issues into the development agenda.
Disabled people in Nepal are living in poverty, facing various types of discrimination. Disability issues are not a priority of the government when making national economic and social development programmes. We have to move from the charity model to the disability rights model.
Rights of gender identity yet to be accepted by implementing agencies: Pinky Gurung, Chairperson of Blue Diamond Society
Nepal’s new constitution has recognised gender identity of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. Articles 12, 18 and 42 have secured the LGBT’s right to equality, right to social justice and right to choose their gender in the citizenship document.
This is a momentous step forward for LGBT’s equality in Nepal. However, the implementing agencies are still reluctant to guarantee gender identity. We need to press for proper implementation of the constitutional provisions relating to the LGBT rights.
The LGBT people at the grassroots level are still suffering from social, political economical exclusion. They are witnessing intolerance, discrimination and harassment on the ground of their sexual orientation.
People must understand that just as there is diversity in nature, LGBTs are diversity in sexuality. Treat the LGBT like humans.
A lot to be done on child rights: Tarak Dhital, executive director of Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB)
Nepal has gained momentum in establishing child rights at the policy level. There are a number of national and local level mechanisms working on the issue. People are now more sensitive toward the rights of children.
Children’s access to health and education has also increased. However, the government has yet to do much on eradicating child mortality and securing quality education. Somewhere we are lacking in guaranteeing their protection. Many children are still working as child labourers, who face physical and sexual abuse or being trafficked.
But I must say we are not derailed, but somehow we are delayed. Still the country has a long way to go to achieve its goal. Recognise children as a citizen of the country and mainstream their rights.
Dalits are discriminated even in the capital: Sitaram Ghale Pariyar, member-secretary of National Dalit Commission
Even in the 21st century, Dalits are facing discrimination, denied access to land and basic resources. We do not have to go to far-flung districts to see this evil practice. Dalits face difficulty in renting rooms in Kathmandu. Many Dalit boys and girls who marry non-Dalits face physical abuse and are expelled from the community.
Moreover, Dalit women in Nepal have been facing the triple burden of caste, class and gender discrimination.
I appeal to everyone to stand up against the discrimination prevailing on the ground of caste, gender, ethnicity, colour and religion to create an equitable society.
Need to end culture of discrimination, impunity and injustice: Gauri Pradhan, former commissioner of National Human Rights Commission
We are happy to note that the Constitution of Nepal ensures the basic human rights of all, including women, children and marginalised persons. However, no effective measures have been taken towards translating the fundamental rights into action. Political instability, lack of a logical end of the peace process and prolonged transitional period have hampered the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
Theoretically, we have made better changes, but we have
very weak institutions and lack institutional coordination and capacity to translate theory into reality. Impunity has remained as a culture no matter how big the change in politics and the political system. But increasing social awareness and people’s active participation have become a source of inspiration for the human rights movement.
There are basically three different forms of human rights violation in Nepal. The first is related to different forms of discrimination and slavery-like practices. The second is about the transitional justice related to the armed conflict of 1996-2006. And the third one is about poverty, economic and natural vulnerability related to mainstreaming development for those people in need.
I think if we really wish to promote and protect human rights in the country, we need to stand up and voice for the rights of those who are living and working in the most difficult circumstances due to so many reasons, regardless of whether they are in the Hills, Mountains or Terai-Madhes.
For this, we, on the one hand, need to safeguard our achievements and on the other we need to end the culture of discrimination, impunity and injustice at all levels of society.
Gender discrimination continuing due to wrong social values: Tara Bhandari, vice-president of Biswas Nepal
The constitution is somehow progressive with respect to establishing gender parity, still there is much that needs to be done to address the remaining barriers to achieving gender equality. There are still some discriminatory laws, which create hurdles to bringing women in the mainstream.
Women in Nepal are still living in a terrible situation. They are facing violence due to the dowry system, practicing witchcraft or not giving birth to a son.
Meaningful participation of women in politics and at every level of the state mechanism is a must to ending this deep-rooted gender inequality.(TRN)