2 October 2013

Campaign demanding changes in anti-rape laws through ordinance


KATHMANDU, Oct 1: Women in the country have always demanded effective laws to curb violence against them. Human rights activists and several organizations working for women have time and again demanded amendment of the current laws. They find the 35-day limitation for filing rape related complaints the most impractical, among others.

Amid rising number of rape cases, being reported from across the country, over dozens of organizations are currently carrying out anti-rape campaign with one of their main demands being amendment to anti-rape laws through an ordinance.

The 22-day campaign, led by National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD), is set to continue till October 10. Over two dozens NGOs are said to be working to make the campaign successful.

However, not everyone is impressed by the campaign. Not that they are not in support of the campaign, but their indifference is stems from the belief that not much can happen in the current situation.

“Everyone knows the current atmosphere of the country. The parties are busy preparing for election and the current government has only one mandate -- holding the election. In such situation, it is least likely that the government´s attention could be drawn towards amending laws,” said sociologist Ganeshman Gurung. “This, however, does not mean that such campaigns are not important,” he added.

Senior advocate Meera Dhungana said that women´s issues have never been in priority for the government. So, it is simply not possible that the matter would suddenly be picked up by the government.

“Not only anti-rape laws, there are many other laws regarding violence against women that needs to be amended. But when has the government been sensitive towards women´s issues?” Dungana asks. “The restored parliament in 2006 could have amended the laws. Or, the successive governments could have addressed the issues. The problem is how women´s issues are viewed by male dominated society and the government.”

Dhungana added that she came across several victims of marital rape in her recent visit to far-western region. “Just a few months of jail term in the case of marital rape is not enough. The perpetrator should be jailed for at least 3 to 6 years,” she said adding that the laws related to dowry, witchcraft and untouchability, among others, need to be amended without further delay.

According to Gurung, legal approach alone would not be enough to curb the problem of violence against women, however.
Where he sees flaws is the lack of involvement of male participants in trainings and seminars conducted by the organizations working for the purpose. “What I see is the organizations try to gather only women in campaigns and other activities they carry out. Who needs more awareness are the males actually. Change would come only if they change their perspectives towards women.”

Meanwhile, President of NAWHRD Dr Renu Raj Bhandari said the demand for amendment to laws is always equally relevant as violence against women is a timeless phenomenon. She stressed that waiting for stable government to address the laws issue would not be wise in view of rising cases of rape across the country.
“As per available data, three women get raped in the country every two days, and the truth is only few rape cases are reported,” Raj Bhandari questioned.

She further claimed that political backing, primarily, protects rapists in around 80 percent of rape cases. “Due to the political affiliation to one or the other political party, rapists enjoy impunity. Victims are pressurized to either keep mum or withdraw the case,” she added. “In addition, police investigation is very weak and the legal procedure has so many hurdles that rapists are rarely punished. So we are demanding fast-track court to oversee cases of sexual violence” she added.

Meanwhile, a women rights activist who did not want to be named, said that many of the women rights NGOs are more eager to gain popularity rather than genuinely make efforts to really help women in need. “Lack of genuine efforts and concerns regarding the issue of violence against women is equally responsible for continuation of such crimes in the society. The approach of the organizations is often very superficial,” she said. "Moreover, they never reveal how much donation they get for carrying out programs and how much they actually spent for the causes. This is the reason why people criticize NGOs."

Besides immediate amendment to rape laws, formation of a fast-track court, the campaign demands drafting of directives for the police to make investigation process more effective in rape related cases. Other demands include preparation of necessary laws to recognize discrimination against rape victims as social offense, enforcing the provision of penalty for the perpetrators and ensuring rape and sexual violence victims´ rights as per the international conventions such as CRC and CEDAW.

As per the current provision, the law slaps a man with 8 to 12 years of imprisonment for raping 14 to 16 year old girl, 5 to 8 years of imprisonment for doing it against 16 to 20 year-old, and just 5 to 7 years of jail term when the victim is above 20 years of age. Similarly, raping someone below 10 years of age fetches a convict 10 to 15 years of jail term. And if victims fail to file case against perpetrators within 35 days, the case is not even pursued by the law.

On the other hand, psychologist Karuna Kunwar Bista, who has dealt with several cases of sexual abuse, in her 13-year career insists upon focusing on psychological and spiritual aspects of perpetrators equally importantly. She added that only external factor of the issue is discussed regarding rape, while the real causes of sexual abuses are never analyzed.

“It is true that we need strict laws. However, only the law cannot address the problem of violence against women,” she said. “Psychological counseling for rapists is very important to ensure that they get a chance to transform their life. Not only rapists, all other criminals should be approached in the same way.”

Published on 2013-10-02, http://www.myrepublica.com/
मिति १५ असोज २०७०

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

राज्यका हरेक अगं तथा तहमा महिलाको न्यूनतम ३३ प्रतिशत सहभागिता सुनिश्चित हुनुपर्ने नीति राज्यले अङ्गिकार गरेता पनि निकट भविष्यमा हुने संविधानसभाको निर्वाचनमा महिलाको न्यूनतम ३३ प्रतिशत परिणाममा नै सुनिश्चित हुने सम्भावना देखिएको छैन । त्यसैले संकल्पले यस पटकक(ो संविधानसभाको निर्वाचनमा महिलाको समानुपातिक समावेशी सहभागिता सुनिश्चितताका लागि विभिन्न अभियानहरु संचालन गर्ने निर्णय गरेको छ । यिनै संकल्पका अभियानहरु पत्रकार सम्मेलनद्वारा जनसमूदायमा पु¥याउने उद्देश्यअनुसार यो पत्रकार सम्मेलनको आयोजना गरिएको हो ।

· निर्वाचनमा प्रत्येक्ष उम्मेदवार भएका महिला नेताहरुका लागि जिल्लामा आम सभाको आयोजना गरिदिने योजना छ ।

· निर्वाचनमा प्रत्येक्ष उम्मेदवार भएका महिला उम्मेदवारको विवरण ९उचयाष्भि० तयार गर्नेे, पोष्टर, पर्चा तयार गरी प्रचार–प्रसारमा सहयोग गर्ने योजना छ ।
· निर्वाचनमा प्रत्येक्ष उम्मेदवार भएका महिला उम्मेदवारको लागि हाते माईक प्रदान गर्ने योजना छ ।
· मिडिया संचालन– जस्तै टि.भी. मा मतदाता सम्बन्धित जनचेतना ९एक्ब्० कार्यक्रम, रडियो जिङ्गल र हाम्रो संकल्प नामक रेडियो कार्यक्रम मार्फत महिला उम्मेदवारलाई भोट हाल्न पेरित गर्ने, टि.भीमा अन्तरक्रिया कार्यक्रम संचालन गर्ने योजना छ ।

· महिला उम्मेदवारको सुरक्षा – चुनावी प्रचार–प्रसार गर्दा प्राय महिला उम्मेदवारहरुले विभिन्न प्रकारका कठिनाइहरुको सामना गर्नुपरेको छ । यस्ता समस्याले गर्दा उनिहरुको चुनावी प्रचार–प्रसारमा बाधा हुने हुनाले यस समस्याको समाधानको रुपमा संकल्प सबै महिला उम्मेदवारको सुची तयार भएपछि, सो सुची लिएर निर्वाचन आयोग र सुरक्षा निकाय समक्ष महिला उम्मेदवारको सुरक्षको लागि पैरवी गर्ने योजना छ ।
· संकल्पले १५ वटा (सिराह, मकवानपुर, दैलेख, डडेल्धुरा, डोटी, काठमाडौं, धन्कुटा, नवलपरासी, कञ्चनपुर, सुर्खेत, काभे्रपलाञ्चोक, कास्की, बाँके, इलाम, गोर्खा) लगायतका केहि जिल्लामा र ति जिल्लाका ४५ गा.वि.स.मा ६७५ सामाजिक अभियानकर्ता नियुक्त गरी महिला उम्मेदवारलाई जिताउन चुनाव प्रचार प्रसारकालागि घर दैलो कार्यक्रम गर्ने योजना छ ।

अन्तरीम संविधान २०६३ ले राज्यको हरेक क्षेत्र तथा तहमा महिलाको ३३ प्रतिशत सहभागिता सुनिश्चित हुनु पर्ने व्यवस्था गरेको र सोही अनुसार गत संविधानसभामा महिलाको ३३ प्रतिशत प्रतिनिधित्व रहेको सर्वविदितै छ । तसर्थ, आगामी निर्वाचनमा पनि सो कार्यान्वयनका लागि संकल्प प्रयत्नशील रहेको कुरा यहाँहरुलाई अवगत गराउन चाहन्छु । संविधानसभामा महिलाको न्युनतम ३३ प्रतिशत सहभागिताको माग केवल सहभागिताका लागि मात्र नभई महिलाको राजनीतिक नेतृत्व विकासको लागि पनि हो । साथै समाज तथा देश निर्माणमा महिला नेतृत्व र बिचारको प्रतिनिधित्व गराउन पनि हो ।

गत संविधानसभामा ३३ प्रतिशत महिला सभासदहरुको उपस्थितिलाई हामी नेपाली महिलाहरुले एउटा ठूलो उपलव्धीका रुपमा लिएका छौँ । तर यो उपलव्धी हामीले एकपटकका लागि मात्र चाहेका होइनौँ । हामीले त्यसलाई एउटा राम्रो सुरुवातको रुपमा लिएका छौँ र हामी त्यसको निरन्तरता चाहन्छौँ । त्यसपछि क्रमश हरेक निर्वाचनमा महिलाको सहभागिता बढाउँदै निर्वाचन परिणाममा नै महिलाको “समानुपातिक तथा समावेसी सहभागिता” गर्ने हाम्रो लक्ष्य रहेको पनि यहाँहरुलाई अवगत गराउँदछौँ ।

निर्वाचन बाहेक राज्यको हरेक तह र तप्कामा समेत हाललाई न्युनतम ३३ प्रतिशत महिलाको सहभागिता हुनुपर्छ भन्ने पनि हाम्रो माग हो । तर, संविधान निर्माण नगरी संविधानसभा भंग हुँदा, नेपाली महिलाले राजनीतिक दल, नागरिक समाज तथा अरु विभिन्न क्षेत्र तथा तहमा रहेर गरेको लामो संघर्षबाट प्राप्त उपलव्धी समेत प्रभावित हुने अवस्था सिर्जना हुँदा हामी निकै गम्भीर भएका छौँ ।

तसर्थ, आगामी संविधाननसभामा पनि विभन्न वर्ग, क्षेत्र, समुदाय तथा जातजातिलाई प्रतिनिधित्व गर्ने न्युनतम ३३ प्रतिशत महिलाको सक्रिय सहभागिता हुनुपर्छ भन्ने हाम्रो अडान छ ।

यसै अन्तर्गत अन्य महिला सञ्जाल तथा संस्थाहरुसँग समन्वय गरी “आगामी संविधानसभाको निर्वाचनमा महिलाको अधिकतम प्रतिनीधित्व र सहभागिता सुनिश्चितताका लागि १६ जेष्ठ २०७० “आगामी निर्वाचनमा महिलाको समानुपातिक तथा समावेशी सहभागिताका लागि साझा अभियान”को आयोजना गरेको थियो । उक्त कार्यक्रममा चार मुख्य दलका नेताहरुलाई आमन्त्रण गरी उहाँहरुबाट ३३ प्रतिशत सुनिश्चिताको प्रतिवद्धता जाहेर पनि भएको थियो । त्यसैगरी संकल्पले “आगामी संविधानसभाको निर्वाचनमा महिलाको अधिकतम प्रतिनीधित्व र सहभागिता सुनिश्चितताका लागि अन्तरपर्टी महिला संजालसँगको समन्वयमा उच्च स्तरिय राजनीति संयन्त्रको बैठकमा धर्ना, नागरिक समाजका सदस्यहरुसँग छलफल, निर्वाचन आयोजकसँग बैठक जस्ता चुनावमुखि कार्यक्रमहरु आयोजना गर्दै आएको छ । संकल्पले ३ असोज २०७० मा अन्तरपार्टी महिला संजालसँग बैठक बसी आगामी निर्वाचनमा महिलाको अधिक्तम प्रतिनिधित्व बढाउनकालागि रणनीतिक योजना पनि बनाएको छ ।

दुर्गा सोव

26 September 2013

Global Campaign for Safe and Legal Abortion

25 September 2013

Press Release

Date: 23th September 2013
Press Release
Sankalpa organized a Strategic Planning Meeting with Inter Party Women’s Alliance (IPWA) members and Sankalpa on 18th September 2013 at Godawari Village Resort. The meeting was organized to develop a strategy for effective coordination and joint action plan between IPWA, Sankalpa and other networks for ensuring maximum Women’s participation and representation in upcoming Election of Constituent Assembly, to identify the essential support to IPWA for maximum participation of women candidate in the upcoming election and to develop advocacy strategy for policy reform where eighteen representatives from IPWA and Sankalpa participated in the meeting in this regard. Long-term and short-term strategies were identified during the planning meeting.
Short-term and immediate strategic targeting the upcoming election are: support and help promote women as a candidate in the upcoming election, voters education, lobby for safety and secure election especially for women candidate, fund raising, post election capacity building for elected women candidates. And the Long term strategies are: long term and consistent collaboration between IPWA and Sankalpa, Joint campaign and advocacy for women participation and representation in all state level mechanism. The long term strategy is focused mostly to increase women's representation and participation in all state-level mechanism.
Meeting also discussed on possible areas where Sankalpa can play positive roles in ensuring and increasing women’s participation and representation in the upcoming elections. The identified possible areas are candidacy, constituency, election campaign, safety and security, resource mobilization, quick poll survey on public demand on the qualities of a good leader, capacity building for women candidate on public speaking and other useful tips for leadership quality, fund raising, common forum for interaction between the voters and candidate, mobilization of civil society organization and network jointly with women leaders to lobby for women representation and participation.

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

निर्वाचन आयोगले मुख्य निर्वाचन अधिकृत तथा निर्वाचन अधिकृत नियुक्त गर्दा महिलालाई यथोचित स्थान नदिएकोमा “शान्ति, न्याय र लोकतन्त्रका लागि समावेशी महिला संजाल – संकल्प” विरोध गर्दछ । निर्वाचन आयोगले संविधानसभा निर्वाचनका लागि सबै निर्वाचन क्षेत्रमा निर्वाचन कार्यालय स्थापना गरी २४० क्षेत्रमा खटिने मुख्य निर्वाचन अधिकृत तथा निर्वाचन अधिकृत समेत नियुक्त गरिसकेको छ । तर, अघिल्लो सविधानसभाको चुनावमा जस्तै यो संविधानसभाको चुनावमा पनि २४० निर्वाचन अधिकृतमा दुई मात्र महिला नियुक्त गरिएकोमा “संकल्प” घोर आपत्ति व्यक्त गर्दछ ।
संकल्पका कार्यकारी निर्देशक चन्दादेवी श्रेष्ठ राई भन्नुहुन्छ “राज्यको हरेक निकाय तथा तहमा महिलाको ३३ प्रतिशत सहभागिता सुनिश्चित हुनु पर्ने व्यवस्था गरे तापनि यो केवल दस्तावेजमा सीमित रहेको कुरा निर्वाचन अधिकृत नियुक्तिको यो घटनाले पनि प्रष्ट पारेको छ” । निर्वाचन अधिकृत हुनका लागि कानुन विषयमा जानकार उपसचिव स्तरको सरकारी कर्मचारी हुनुपर्ने प्रवधान रहेको र अहिले नेपालमा पाँच जना त्यस्ता महिला उपसचिव भए तापनि दुई जनालाई मात्र निर्वाचन अधिकृतको जिम्मेवारी दिइएको छ ।
निर्वाचन आयोगका उपसचिव महेश्वर न्यौपानेका अनुसार निर्वाचन अयोगले ४,७२१ जना निर्वाचन शिक्षा कार्यकर्ता नियुक्त गरेकोमा ५० प्रतिशत महिला नियुक्त गरे तापनि करिब १८,४०० मतदान केन्द्रमा मतदान अधिकृत नियुक्त गर्दा भने ३३ प्रतिशत पु¥याउन नसकिने बताउनुभएको छ । सरकारी कर्मचारीमा नै ३३ प्रतिशत महिला अधिकृत नरहेको र शिक्षा क्षेत्रमा पनि ३३ प्रतिशत महिला नभएकोले निर्वाचन आयोगले केही गर्न नसक्ने जानकारी उहाँले संकल्प रेडियो कार्यक्रमका लागि गरिएको कुराकानीमा दिनुभएको छ ।
“सकल्प” निर्वाचन आयोग समक्ष अहिले भएका पाँच जना कानुन विषयमा जानकार महिला उपसचिव स्तरको सरकारी कर्मचारीहरु सबैलाई निर्वाचन अधिकृतको जिम्मेवारी दिन माग गर्दछ ।

24 September 2013

Health services in Mugu

Health services in Mugu


One of the happiest times for a woman should be to celebrate the birth of a child, but this woman’s eyes are filled with fear. In Nepal, as in many other developing countries, this is one of the most dangerous times for a woman.
Not only is the delivery process risky, but the pre-natal period is full of uncertainty and isolation. Preparation for childbirth and parenthood and maintaining a mother’s health during pregnancy are essential components in ensuring the wellbeing of the family and even the community as a whole.
It is well recognized that the lives of other children are put at significantly increased risk by the loss of their mother before her fifth birthday. Nevertheless, the lives of women in (especially rural) Nepal seem significantly undervalued.
Only a small proportion of women in Mugu will attend the hospital or health posts for the WHO recommended minimum of four prenatal checks that should be undertaken during pregnancy. Reasons for this are numerous: lack of awareness of the importance of these checks; lack of provision of thorough checks which the women understand; lack of support from family members to attend; great distances to travel to health facilities, and even the need to work in fields and the home to support the family.
An 18-year old girl attends the hospital with her four-day old baby whom she delivered at home. This is her first child, a son. She feels too shy to tell us why she came to the hospital, so she initially makes up different symptoms in order to stay in the hospital. It is during morning rounds that she discloses her symptoms of bilateral breast abscesses.
Had she had early diagnosis and management of the simple and common prenatal condition of nipple inversion, these abscesses could have been prevented. Instead she is now faced with needing hospitalization, high doses of intravenous antibiotics, and multiple surgical procedures to drain the pus, notwithstanding the pain she suffers from these abscesses and the hindrance to breastfeeding her newborn son.
This “girl” has no autonomy over her own body and what happens to it. Consent for the hospitalization and initial procedure is given by her husband. She may be young, she may not be literate, she may not have medical knowledge, but she knows her own body, that what she is suffering is not normal. She knows that it needs intervention, but without her husband’s permission, she is not able to undergo any procedure or stay in the hospital.
Her eyes are filled with fear as she comes to our simple operating theatre. As I explain that I will make her unconscious for the procedure, I hold her hand and her grip reminds me that social isolation during such a fearful time means it is unlikely that she has touched anyone else since the delivery. The following day, when dressings need changing, we go through the same process again. The next day is the same, and slowly we see some improvement. She is starting to feel better. Her husband sees this and decides that it is time to go home. We urge him to allow her to stay with her baby as her wounds are not yet clean and she is still at high risk of becoming septic, even dying, but to no avail.
Four or five days later we meet again. This time she comes alone. She is still within the social time period where she is not permitted to bathe. Her wounds have become badly infected. She knows she is worse. She explains that she is not able to breastfeed and that the family are looking after her son at home, bottle feeding.
The nurses counsel her, advising her to bring her baby so that they can check him and teach safe practices for bottle feeding if she is not able to breastfeed, and explaining that she must be admitted to the hospital again. She tells us that her husband will not allow her to stay, nor bring her son, though she knows she needs to. We can only support her decision. The staff agree to help her if her husband comes later demanding to take her home, so she stays.
Each day the process gets easier. She trusts the care she is getting, but her eyes remain fearful. Each time she has dressing change, she grips my arm and refuses to let go. We continue to encourage her to bathe as she gains strength, and cut her fingernails for her. After a few days the wounds look much improved, and changing the dressing is no longer painful. She does not need to be sedated during the procedure. Her eyes reflect her low self-value, reflect almost two decades of being told by society that she is not as valuable as a male, that she is a burden to her family and that she has no right to make her own decisions.
She breaks down as she tells us that yesterday her baby died. It is heart-breaking to see her pain, that she is expected to ‘get over it’, just keep living because after all, she can have another child, can’t she? This was her first. This was her son.
She carried this boy for nine months in her womb. Her body went through enormous changes to facilitate his birth. Her maternal instinct is strong. For the first time she is allowed to cry for the loss of her son, to begin to grieve for a life that will never be forgotten.
In her young eyes I see a new strength and maturity, brought from all she endured. But all the pain she endured from her own illness and the death of her son could have been prevented. When will we learn to look into the eyes of each of our patients and understand the depths of their stories?
Alongside two other volunteers, the author is working to help establish operative maternity services in Mugu hospital
Source: www.myrepublica.com
Published on 2013-09-25 01:03:29

15 September 2013

Global Media Campaign

This year Sankalpa has become a part of the Global Network of Women Peace-builder launched, "Women speak out for peace; A Global Media Campaign on the 2013 International Peace Day". It is a week-long global media campaign to highlight women's role as a peace-builder and agent of change; and to demand greater accountability to the Women, Peace and Security (WSP) resolutions. The campaign will take place during the week preceding International Day of Peace, starting 16th September and continuing till 21st September 2013.

Objective of the campaign:

The specific objectives of this initiative are:

• To raise extensive awareness and knowledge of UNSCR 1325, 1820 and other supporting WPS resolutions; and of their practical application at the country and community levels
• To demand greater accountability from government, the UN, regional organizations and fellow civil society actors to honor their obligations under the WPS resolutions including but not limited to the development and implementation of National Action Plan
• To transform the depiction of women in conflict setting from victim to peace-builder, decision-maker and change agents

How to participate:

1. Send letters to the editor of newspapers and magazine-Sample letter given
2. Write a blog and publish it in your organization's websites that you think have a good following
3. Sent at least five tweets or five Facebook or five Tumblr posts and /or five text/SMS messages. For twitter updates, please use the hastags: #PeaceDay, #WPS, #VAW
4. Speak on the radio and television. Reach out to radio and television broadcasters and request that they interview you or give you space on their programs

The Theme:

The theme of this campaign is "Education for Peace", theme set by UN for this year's International Day of Peace, participants should target this theme in the media articles, letters to editors, blogs and tweet, radio and TV message that will produce and distribute on 21st September 2013. To ensure that the message of peace education is relevant to each country, the theme should be contextualized and integrated with sensitization on national laws and policies women and peace and security issues.

Sankalpa's initiatives:

1. Blog/Facebook/Twitter posts:

Sankalpa has designed its new blog "Hamro Awaaz; our voice" the objective of this blog is to bring together voice, opinion and experience of different individuals in support of women issues. Also to connect women from community level to national level and also international level and vise-versa. The blog can be used for sharing experience, case studies, update on various programs held, and also discussion on different issues related to women. Since it is an informal platform and very youth friendly we can expect views from young women and men on the current raising issues related to women's rights. With this global campaign we will be launching our blog and posting minimum five posts in our twitter and Facebook with the theme " Education for peace"

2. Radio Program:
Sankalpa already has a Radio program "Hamro Sankalpa", running since Jan 2013 with Radio Sagarmatha and CIN (Community Information Network) network, which covers all 75 districts. it is a radio magazine raising the issue of women representation and participation. it includes Jingle, song-piece, bridge-tone, vox-pop, news feature, interview, group discussion, community interaction and talk program which involves women from different community and villages of Nepal, their voices and say on contemporary national issues in relation to women. Sankalapa is also launching a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on voter's education and also women's participation and representation in the upcoming elections.

3. Gender Cards:
Sankalpa has started the Gender Card campaign, where different individual writes an issue he/she cares about that unfairly affects the lives of Nepali women. This campaign is inspired by the "Get Up!; Action for Australia Campaign". We have already collected some Gender cards from our field, which we will be using at our blogs and Facebook Page to raise awareness and stir some interesting discussions around the topic.

For the Global Media Campaign we shall collect gender cards on the theme transform the depiction of women in conflict setting from victim to peace-builder, decision-maker and change agents. Sankalpa's member organization have worked on post-conflict and Internal Displaced People (IDPs) so we will collaborate with them to produce some life changing experience sharing through the medium of gender card.