Serious efforts needed on Gender-based violence to meet Nepal’s human rights obligations, concludes multi-sectoral meeting
“We have many laws to address gender-based violence, but implementation is slow”, said Minister Tham Maya Thapa, Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens (MoWCSC) at a meeting this week on multi-sectoral services to respond to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nepal.
“The Government is committed to address gender-based violence in Nepal and has been providing various services from different sectors. This issue must be addressed immediately by concerned sectors at national and local levels to provide the survivors with support.”
The three-day meeting brought together stakeholders and service providers from health, justice and social sectors, in recognition that gender-based violence response must be multi-sectoral if it is to be effective. Participants emphasized the need to form a Provincial-level GBV Response Coordination Committee housed in the Chief Minister’s Office, sensitization on GBV prevention and response to elected representatives and local authorities to ensure resource allocation, annual monitoring of law implementation and common understanding of GBV as some of the key steps to prevent and respond to GBV in Nepal.
UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal, Valerie Julliand, in her opening remarks emphasized that violence against women is a fundamental breach of the human rights of women and girls, particularly the right to a life free from fear and violence. “States have a primary responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfil the rights of women and girls. These obligations are detailed in human rights instruments, international agreements and accompanying declarations and policies that Nepal is party to”, she stated.
Gender-based violence remains a significant concern in Nepal, with numerous consequences for health, psychological, social and economic well-being of the victims / survivors. Twenty-two per cent of women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and 7 per cent have experienced sexual violence, according to Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016. The survey also shows that 66 per cent of women who have experienced any type of physical or sexual violence have not sought any help or talked to anyone about resisting or stopping the violence they experience.
With an aim to counter these problems, UN Agencies comprising of UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, UNDP and UNODC and Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) organised the three-day-meeting from 18 to 20 September in Kathmandu. The workshop reviewed progress, achievements and lessons learnt in implementing Essential Services Package – a comprehensive package that outlines a series of ‘essential action’ to be taken by the Government in health, social services, police and justice sectors.
During the workshop, regional experts of the UN entities presented global and national frameworks and commitments to ending GBV and an overview of the Essential Services Package including its implementation. The workshop had participation from various sectors, including the government representatives at federal and provincial levels from key line ministries, government agencies, commissions, service providers, UN Agencies and civil society