Int’l community express concerns regarding violence against women in Nepal

London– International community, including the United Nations, have expressed concerns regarding what they called “high prevalence of violence against women in Nepal.”

In a joint statement issued on Friday, Embassy of Australia, Embassy of Finland, Embassy of France, Embassy of Norway, Embassy of Switzerland, Embassy of the United Kingdom and United Nations in Nepal expressed concern about the reported impunity for the perpetrators of sexual violence and violence against women, as also stated by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women during her visit to Nepal in November 2018.

The joint statement of influential Western embassies and the United Nations has come at a time when Nepali media were reporting about alleged rape and sexual violence against a temporary staff at the Parliament Secretariat by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

Mr Mahara has resigned from his post but has denied allegations.

The statement didn’t mention the name of Mr Mahara but said, “While certain cases may still be under investigation, the undersigned remind the Government of Nepal on its obligations under international law to ensure access to justice for victims, stand for the victims’ rights and send a zero-tolerance message to combat gender-based violence.”

“Cases such as Nirmala Pant and Maya BK demonstrate the challenges victims and their families face in seeking justice. International standards and Nepal’s obligations under international law, as indicated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, require the Government of Nepal to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into allegations,” the statement said.

NHRC forms an investigation team

In the meantime, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Nepal has formed an investigation team to probe rape allegation levelled against former Speaker Mahara.

The team has been asked to submit a report after thoroughly investigating the case. (The team) will go through media reports, meet the victim personally if she allows and talk to Mahara, The Himalayan Times daily reported.

In the latest development, the woman who first accused Mahara of raping her has formally lodged a complaint with the Police, reports said.

“The victim has lodged a complaint on Friday naming Krishna Bahadur Mahara of attempting to rape her.” Spokesperson of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police, DSP Hobendra Bogati, told BBC Nepali. On the basis of her complaints, police have intensified its investigation, Mr Bogati said.

Timeline:

Sunday, 29th September, 2019: The victim calls Nepal police in the evening, alleges Speaker Mahara of raping her. Police visit the alleged crime scene, collect evidence and ask the victim to report to the police station on Monday.

Monday, 30th September: www.hamrakura.com breaks the news. In a video interview, the victim alleges Mahara of raping her. Mahara’s Secretariat refutes allegations

Tuesday, 1st October: The Secretariat of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) asks Mahara to resign from the post of Speaker and Member of Parliament. Mahara resigns from the post of Speaker.

Wed, 2nd October: In what looked like under coercion, the victim denied her earlier statement. She said she regretted accusing the “fatherly figure” of such misconduct. She said she was suffering from “depression” and had made false complaints against Mahara because she was “angry.”

Friday, 4th October: International community including the UN issue a joint statement; NHRC sets up a probe committee. The victim lodges a formal complaint with Nepal Police alleging Mahara of “attempting to rape her.”

 

Full text of the joint statement:

Statement on Combating Violence Against Women

The undersigned members of the international community are concerned about the high prevalence of violence against women in Nepal.

While certain cases may still be under investigation, the undersigned remind the Government of Nepal on its obligations under international law to ensure access to justice for victims, stand for the victims’ rights and send a zero-tolerance message to combat gender-based violence.

The undersigned are particularly concerned about the reported impunity for the perpetrators of sexual violence and violence against women, as also stated by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women during her visit to Nepal in November 2018.  Cases such as Nirmala Pant and Maya BK demonstrate the challenges victims and their families face in seeking justice. International standards and Nepal’s obligations under international law, as indicated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, require the Government of Nepal to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into allegations.

In particular, recommendation No. 35 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women provides guidance to States concerning their due diligence obligations to investigate all crimes, including that of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, and to sentence perpetrators, provide reparations to victims and prevent further violence by addressing the gendered causes and impacts of all forms of violence against women.

In doing so, the undersigned would like to highlight the importance and the need for employing a victim-centric approach. Such an approach places the human rights, interests and needs of the victims at the centre of any and all actions taken in relation to the allegations, not only in investigations, but also by providing victim assistance and protection, with the principles of ‘do no harm,’ confidentiality, safety and non-discrimination. The undersigned call upon all relevant State authorities to send a clear message of zero tolerance to any forms of gender-based violence by anyone under any circumstances.

The undersigned also note with concern the inherent power imbalance that exist in gender-based violence, which may hinder the victims’ capacity to report the violence suffered to the authorities and seek assistance. In this context, the undersigned urge the Government to provide measures to foster effective and efficient reporting. Such measures are particularly important in Nepal where the prevalence of violence against women and impunity for these crimes remains high, and continues to have a negative impact on women, children and the community at large in Nepal. Efforts to combat stigma and harassment against victims of sexual violence are central to the combat against impunity and the protection of victims’ rights.

The undersigned remain committed to assisting the Government of Nepal in combating violence against women and advancing gender equality, in line with Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Issued by:

Embassy of Australia, Embassy of Finland, Embassy of France, Embassy of Norway, Embassy of Switzerland, Embassy of the United Kingdom, United Nations in Nepal

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com