NEPAL: Law Minister Pledges Justice for VAW Victims

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Himalayan Times
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Minister for Law and Justice Narahari Acharya today met women' rights activists, who are staging a sit-in protest at Bhadrakali to press for the fulfilment of a 10-point charter of demands.

On the occasion, Renu Rajbhandari, president of National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders, apprised Minister Acharya of their demands. She warned that agitating activists will launch decisive protests if the government does not address their demands by May 12. For his part, Minister Acharya said, “The government will invite women's rights defenders for talks on amending existing rape laws. Violence against women is not only the issue of women, but of every society, family and house. Therefore, I have taken this issue very seriously,” he told the agitators.

Rajbhandari said, “Though successive governments have pledged to address women's concerns, they have not bothered to translate their promises into action. And if this government expresses commitment only for the sake of commitment, this wave of protests will not recede at any cost.”

NAWHRD said it will launch a nationwide protest from May 13 if its demands are not addressed within May 12. Women's rights activists from all 75 districts are taking part in the protest, vowing that they will not return home without getting justice.

Their demands include amendment to rape laws, a fast-track court for VAW victims or prompt verdict delivery through a continuous hearing process, and drafting of directives for Nepal Police to make the rape investigation process sensitive and

effective. Other demands include protection of sexual violence victims' rights to study and health services as per international

conventions, formulation of laws criminalising discrimination against rape victims, formation of a high-level committee to investigate rapes committed during the conflict-era, creation of a favourable environment for rape victims to fight for justice and protection of the victims' rights.