'Government Is Implementing UN Resolution'

As Nepal is celebrating the International Women’s Day, SADHURAM SAPKOTA, Director of Peace Fund Secretariat, spoke to New Spotlight about the compensation given to the women victims of the conflict. Excerpts:

March 8, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -17 Mar. 07- 2014 (Falgun 23, 2070)

How do you view the International Women’s Day?

Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare is organizing various programs on the International Women’s Day.  Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and Peace Fund have also their programs to provide relief to women, who were victimized during the conflict. So far as activities to uplift women's status and empowerment are concerned, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction along with the fund has been launching various programs. During the ten years of conflict women suffered badly. With the guidance from Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, the fund has already implemented a number of programs targeting the women who suffered from conflict. National Women’s Commission is now implementing the programs to ensure and increase the participation of women in administrative and political process.

 

What about UN resolution 1325 and 1820?

Nepal government has already developed a work plan to implement the United Nation's resolutions 1325 and 1820. We have been implementing the work plan by giving high priority to the victims. Along with Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, other nine government agencies are implementing the plan. 

What about the programs of the ministries?

The ministries have already spent almost 840 million rupees.  The money was invested to the women who suffered during the conflicts, including in their rehabilitation. We have also invested money to increase women’s participation in politics and civil service.  This also includes increasing the participation of women in security services, in army and police, as well as increasing participation in judiciary and private sector. To enhance the prestige of women, Nepal Police and Nepal Army have also been launching various programs.

Are there any programs encouraging women in self-employment?

There are also programs to enhance the livelihood of the people.  We have also been implementing the programs to engage women in self-employment schemes.  Ministry of Industry, Department of Cottage Industry and Cottage Industry Development Committee have been launching the programs targeting them, and the ministry has formed a coordination committee for that.  This program is covering 25 districts throughout the country. Most of the programs are related to livelihood. Our focus is on women, who suffered during the conflict.

There are complaints about the delaying in implementing the UN Resolutions. How do you look at this?

The ministry has been honestly implementing UN resolutions 1325 and 1820 which relate to the women. Apart from this other nine ministries have been actively implementing the programs.

How do you look at the status of conflict victims?

Women were victimized in various ways. For instance, women were suffering the impact of conflict. Maoist combatants had one kind of problem, like integration in society.  However, other young girls, who dropped out from schools, and female teachers who lost their jobs due to the threat during conflict, need other programs.  We have been implementing programs targeting all these different sectors. In education sector, we have been launching the programs for those who lost the opportunity to study, particularly young girls and children. The ministry has also been launching programs targeting those women combatants who retired voluntarily as per the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Similarly, there are also programs for disqualified combatants. The ministry has been launching self employment programs in 48 districts through the Peace Plan Project.

What programs has the ministry been launching in connection with UN resolutions 1325 and 1820?

Under this program, the ministry has been launching various packages related to self-employment for women in 25 districts. The ministry is providing skill development and employment generation training to women. The Secretary of Ministry of Industry and I went to Dhading district to observe the programs.  I can say that the employment generation skill development training is effective.  Many women who got the training are now involved in one or the other kind of self-employment.

Are they enough?

Frankly speaking, the current programs are not enough.  We need to carry out the program in a massive scale. There is the need to carry out the relief programs nationwide. There is the need to take the initiative to run interim and special programs for the victims of sexual violence. The government has already realized the need to implement the programs targeting them.

In the absence of broader agreement on Truth and Reconciliation Commission, how can the government can compensate for the victims?

As per the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, there is the need to bring the Truth and Reconciliation bill. Although the bill was submitted by the ministry, it failed get through the last parliament. The ministry also made efforts to bring the bill through ordinance, but the effort did not materialize. This is a very important bill to settle the issues related with victims of sexual violence. As Supreme Court has already directed the government to bring two separate bills under transitional justice as per the international standards and with participation of the stakeholders, the ministry is now working on this. When the ministry proposes the new bill, it will include the clauses to give justice to those who suffered from sexual and other violence during the conflict.

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