In efforts to create a more enabling environment for gender-responsive justice in Nepal, UN Women and Legal Aid and Consultancy Center Nepal (LACC) hosted a joint dialogue series across three tiers of government on“Strengthening Gender-Responsive Justice at Local Level”.
Speaking at the event, Minister, Aman Lal Modi of Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration shared, “To take Singha Durbar at the doorsteps of everyone, we need to do more, not only the government but all stakeholders need to do more.”
Navanita Sinha, Head of Office a.i., UN Women also shared, “Nepal has a strong normative legal framework for gender justice and the formation of judicial committees is a testament to its commitment. Despite numerous challenges, judicial committees have played a critical role in enhancing gender justice, but these are only initial steps and we need to do more to ensure these institutions can deliver on the substantive promise.”
Kamala Kumari Parajuli, Chair of National Women Commission, urged to scale up UN Women’s project, ‘Enhancing Access to Justice’ across all 753 local levels of Nepal and called on local government units, provincial governments and the federal government to address gaps and challenges for gender-responsive justice at the local level.
Bringing together diverse stakeholders such as the government, executive, legislative, judiciary, community-based women’s organizations, and development partners, the dialogue highlighted best practices for gender-responsive justice:
a)Enabling survivors to access gender-based violence elimination fund
b) Discouraging forced mediation
c) Mobilizing grassroots women organizations for community outreach and integrated justice delivery
d) Home visit by Judicial Committee members for ensuring accessible justice for victims
e) Interim Protection Order to enable gender-responsive justice for victims
f) Creating coordination and collaboration platforms between justice actors at the local level
g) Strengthening capacity of Judicial Committee to manage case backlog
h) Strengthening capacity of formal and informal justice actors and monitoring mechanisms
i) Technical support of legal advisors to Judicial Committees
UN Women promotes a gender-responsive approach to justice. It supports community-based models for gender justice by enhancing gender responsiveness of community-based justice mechanisms, and establishing platforms for coordination; supporting women’s rights organizations to advocate and support women’s pursuit of justice; involving whole communities to change social norms that result in the prevention of discrimination and acceptance of women as active citizens.
In 2019, UN Women in collaboration with LACC,Dalit Women Right Forum Nepal, Village Community Development Center, and EDC Nepal launched a justice pilot model to strengthen the capacity of community-based justice actors to facilitate and enhance women’s access to justice.
The pilot, supported by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency SIDA, engaged front-line justice providers, including Judicial Committee members, mediators, community-based justice actors and representatives of grassroots women’s organizations in 14 local government units across three districts: Sarlahi, Doti and Kailali in Madhesh and Sudurpaschim provinces. The justice needs of women were placed at the centre while supporting decentralization of justice systems through community-based mechanisms. The model focused on responding to the barriers in access to justice that women face, and strengthened justice mechanisms to deliver gender-responsive justice.
The event also had art exhibition, ‘We for Us’ featuring journeys of gender equality activists in seeking justice for their communities and short film on bringing justice closer through community-based justice mechanism.