Transitional Justice from Women’s Perspectives

Still after seven years of official beginning of the peace process there are thousands of family members waiting to know the whereabouts of their loved ones and thousands others who are still waiting for justice. Women who suffered from direct violence and discrimination before, during and after conflict still have a long way to go to get heard and become visible. Although some efforts have been made for justice, there is still a need for proper monitoring and analysis to ensure proper justice and remedies for women. The perpetrators of war crimes and violence are institutionalized as today’s leaders, body guards and supporters; jeopardizing the access to justice for the direct and indirect victims of conflict and violence.

 

National Consultation -21st September 2013

The official peace process has completed its seven years, but still lags behind in its commitment to establish sustainable peace in the country.  It should be acknowledged that the political parties and the Government had endorsed it and showed its commitments by establishing Peace and Reconstruction Ministry, Peace Trust Fund. Similarly, the peace process had endorsed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and developed the National Plan of Action which was a positive step as it incorporated the gender dimensions and women’s rights aspect.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement with its commitment aimed to establish a just society through complete transformation of nation’s social, economic, political and cultural aspects brought enthusiasm and eagerness to the Nepali people. Yet, the commitment of political parties remains only on papers.

The situation has not changed despite the Government’s National Action Plan on 1325 which was highly applauded by International community. The NAP on 1325 still has a long way to go before it gets applauded by all the women of Nepal in general and directly affected women in particular. Likewise, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Disappearance which were /are part of transitional justice mechanisms and commitment in CPA are still being debated. Although, the Truth and Reconciliation ordinance was passed its provisions clearly shows that even if the commission gets established, it will be difficult for the conflict affected survivors to get justice. The provisions propagate Impunity.

 Due to the lack of political will and inefficiency of the political leaders the peace process has been protracted and this has been taken as an excuse to deny justice to those affected by conflict. This applies to those affected in the transitional period as well. As a result at present country is going through pain of Impunity.

Present situation:

Still after seven years of official beginning of the peace process there are thousands of family members waiting to know the whereabouts of their loved ones and thousands others who are still waiting for justice. Women who suffered from direct violence and discrimination before, during and after conflict still have a long way to go to get heard and become visible. Although some efforts have been made for justice, there is still a need for proper monitoring and analysis to ensure proper justice and remedies for women. The perpetrators of war crimes and violence are institutionalized as today’s leaders, body guards and supporters; jeopardizing the access to justice for the direct and indirect victims of conflict and violence.

Instead of healing scars, wounds have deepened by present modality of justice. Additionally, the protracted transitional period and slackened peace process perpetuated by weak and unstable government is leading the country towards organized crimes and increases VAW and children. Within three month (Baisakh, Jyestha and Ashadh, 2070), WOREC Nepal documented 613 cases of violence on women. Out of total, 279 cases were reported as domestic violence (battered by husband and in-laws, mental torture, abandoned from home, verbal abuse and physical violence), 63 cases were reported as social violence (alleged as witch, child marriage and verbal abuses), 149 cases were reported as rape (from intimate partner, neighbors, teachers and others), 14 cases were reported as attempt to rape, 40 cases were reported as killings, 10 cases reported as attempt to murder, 35cases were reported as sexual harassment, 9 cases reported as human trafficking and 14 cases were reported as other kinds (stranded, suicide and fraud) of violence.  In almost all cases justice is impossible to achieve. 

As the concept of justice is embedded within discriminatory laws and structures, and remains within the periphery of these structures, women fail to get justice even after the legal remedy. There are a number of cases in which the perpetrator gets punished legally but women do not feel they received real justice. Absence of victim protection mechanism and victim centric justice system compounded with patriarchal values and understanding within every system of governance makes women’s life difficult. This situation requires national level discussion with the affected people and requires urgent attention to further discuss what justice really means for women survivors and how this can be achieved? Without this the peace process can never get transformed in sustainable peace.

The activities and works done in the past:

To address the situation, every year WOREC Nepal draws attention to the issue related to women during violent political conflict on September 21st, International peace day, with an objective to advocate for justice. WOREC Nepal considers this as a base for sustainable peace in the country. The highlights of WOREC’s issues of advocacy delivered through events conducted in past four years (2009-12) are:

  • In 2009, WOREC, NAWHRD, AYON, COCAP, Rastriya Mahila Uthan Sangh jointly organized an interaction program on International Peace Day - This year it reviewed the peace process and listed challenges related to this. Similarly, it listed out the shortcomings of the peace process and discussed them with leaders of all political parties. Leaders of the political parties made commitment to take note of that and to improve on it.
  •  In, 2010, an interaction program entitled “Peace building Process: Past, Present and Future” in presence of Vice Speaker of Constitutional Assembly, representatives of Civil Society and different Human Right Organizations was organized. Women affected by the conflict, survivors of violence in transitional period asked the questions, raised their voices and demanded accountability to ensure their rights from the government, political parties and other stakeholders. The discussion was focused on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and obligation of the state.  Leaders of political parties and government authorities committed to comply with the provisions of 1325 expedite the peace process and ensure women's participation in all steps. Commitment to ensure justice for women was very loud and clear.
  •  In 2011, WOREC Nepal organized a National Level Public Hearing entitled “Where is my dignity?” in presence of leaders of major political parties, media and representatives of civil society. Several women directly affected by conflict shared their stories and demanded accountability from the top brass of the political parties. Chairperson of CPN-Maoist Mr. Puspa kamal Dahal, Chairperson of CPN-UML, Mr. Jhal Nath Khanal, Madheshi Morcha Mr. Upendra Yadav among others were the guest of honor. They committed to look at the issues and full fill the demands of women within two months, but still nothing has happened,. After the public hearing 18 point demands to be addressed by the government with immediate plans and commitments was drafted and submitted to the leaders and government authorities.
  • On 20th September 2012, WOREC Nepal along with other human right organizations collaboratively organized Peace Fair (Photo Exhibition, IEC fair, Art Competition, Cultural Programs, Documentary Screening and Book Launching) in the form of Peace Exhibition was organized at Khulla Manch with an objective to publicized commitments of political parties and implementation status of those commitments.
  • On 21st September 2012, WOREC Nepal, NAWHRD and APWLD jointly organized a National Consultation on “Women’s Right in Nepal: Rhetoric and Reality, Challenges to Human Right, Peace, Democracy and Development”  with a slogan “ Standing Together for Peace” in presence of Ms. Kamala Chandrakirana, working group member of  women in discrimination against women in law . The day was followed by the “Solidarity Mission” (22nd September) in which Ms. Heisoo Shin, UN socio economic right committee member, APWLD members from Asia pacific region  jointly with WOREC Nepal and MahilaEkataSamaj visited forcibly evicted slums of Bagmati River. A joint statement was issued and presented on 23rd of September through an “Interaction program with stakeholders on “Interaction with Media & Dialogue with stakeholders on the due processes and standards of Eviction and Right to safe housing”. During this, the issues related to socio-economic challenges and securities of Women Human Right Defenders were highlighted nationally and internationally.  In all above listed activities, political parties committed themselves to peace process and justice for women .Likewise, the Government authorities committed to implement and ensure justice but still those commitments and have not been implemented and women are still waiting to enjoy their rights and access justice.

2013 Action:

As continuum and reminder, this year WOREC Nepal is organizing National Consultation on “Transitional Justice from Women’s Perspectives “on 21st September 2013, to advocate for Women Friendly transitional justice mechanism. This consultation will be conducted to highlight the issues on “what is justice for women in today’s context?”

Program Objectives:

  • To define Justice from women's perspective and draft a module addressing transitional justice issues from women’s perspectives.

Program Methodology:

  • Program will be conducted in joint collaboration of NAWHRD and WOREC Nepal.
  • Short video screening on “What is Justice for Women?”
  •  “What is justice for women? What needs to be done for women to make feel the justice? What kind of environment is needed? How the justice for the victims of violence again women including conflict period can be ensured? A survey conducted through this questionnaire with women all over the country will be shared and discussed through a position paper developed.
  • Five women representative will be sharing their problems focusing on what justice really mean for them?
  • The National Consultation will be conducted in the form of presentation, interactions and interactive dialogues and the issues and recommendation collected from mass discussions will be presented in presence of concerned stakeholders.

Participants:

  • Women affected by conflict, women human rights defenders and survivors of violence.
  • Representatives of Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare.
  • National Human Right Commission and National Women Commission.
  • Representative from peace and reconstruction Ministry
  • UN agencies
  • Bilateral agencies contributors to peace trust fund.
  • EU working group on Human right defenders
  • Political representatives and representatives of CSOs.
  • Media and concerned stakeholders.

Expected Outcome:

A draft on module addressing transitional justice issues from women’s perspectives developed.

Files:
Transitional Justice from Women’s Perspectives
Date 2013-08-29 Language  English Filesize 368.22 KB Download 1346