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 ।

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