Nepal: Women Human Rights Activists Attacked

At Nepal Blogs, we do not publish political posts. We do however support human rights campaigners and civic activism. In keeping with our commitment towards civic activism, here is an update received through Nepali Women’s Global Network.

WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS THRASED AND DETAINED

NEPAL – Despite the call for a nationwide strike by a respective political party, the Women’s Campaign for Democratic and Progressive Constitution defied this call, and continued their campaign for the 23rd Day.  The campaign has been led by 7 women’s network  involving different sections of women’s movement, under one umbrella as Women’s Campaign for Democratic and Progressive Constitution.  The movement constitutes of Defenders advocating for different thematic issues such as equality and non discrimination in the areas of disability, sexual orientation, land rights, squatter rights, natural resources and workers rights respectively. The campaign has been supported, and promoted by numerous members of civil society, networks, institutions respectively, creating a campaign of/for all. The campaign has involved used social networking (facebook) as a tool to disseminate the information as widely as possible.

The Campaign has been organizing sit in protest in front of the Constituent Assembly from 14th April.  One of the core strategies of the Campaign is, to demand for a conducive environment to implement the pledges committed by the Political Parties, to bring the Peace Process to an end by promulgating the constitution on the stipulated time of 28 May, 2011.

The demands of the Campaign are:

a)      To update the citizens about the current status of the constitution, and promulgate the draft constitution on 28 May;

b)      To create a dependable environment to implement the peace process;

c)       To ensure the 33% representation of women in all Portfolios of Ministries, and other structures related to Peace Building

This morning, the government declared the areas around the Constituent Assembly as “a Prohibited Zone”.  No one is allowed to organize any forms of protest around the area.  Around 11 AM, as a part of the regular campaign activities, the women activists entered the zone, and continued their protest peacefully stating that the Constituent Asssembly cannot be dissolved, and the Constitution has to be promulgated on stipulated time. However, the Police intervened, and started abusing the women in foul languages; one of the activists claim that” it was a way to destroy our spirit, and insult and harass us for just being women.”

The first group of 21 Women Human Rights Defenders entered the zone, and protested peacefully. The Police intervened, and started baton charging the women. The detained Defenders claim that when the Women Police made hesitant gestures to the Male Police, it created anger amongst the male, and they started charging the women vehemently with their batons. Most of the women sustained injuries, while four defenders sustained minor injurites while one Defender, Shyam Sah from Siraha district who was standing behind the group was chased all the way outside of the Prohibited zone, and when she tried to take seek refuge inside the house, she was  mercilessly dragged out, and charged repeatedly with batons. All the 21 Defenders were arrested and then detained at the Baneshwor Police Station. Some of the injured have been taken to the hospital upon the request made by the activists to the Police Personnels.

We condemn such brutal act of the Goverment.

Please disseminate this widely to your networks.

We will update the videos and photos later.

Thank you for your continous support.

Women’s Campaign for Democratic and Progressive Constitution

PRESS RELEASE Via WOREC Nepal – 5/24/11


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