UN Nepal statement on violence against women and girls in Nepal
KATHMANDU, 15 January 2013 – Recent highly publicized cases of rape, murder and disappearance of Nepalese women have rightly sparked off protests against the wider issue of violence against women and girls in Nepal.
Sadly these cases are only a few out of many more cases of gender-based violence in the country, including instances of physical, sexual, psychological, socio-cultural and economic violence. Violence against women and girls is a form of discrimination as well as a violation of human rights. The wide public attention that is now being generated has created momentum that we cannot allow to simply subside. It must be supported if real change is to occur in Nepal and globally.
Nepal has made strong normative and legal commitments to ending gender-based violence and inequality. It has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), thereby legally binding itself to put the CEDAW provisions into practice. A Domestic Violence Act and a 5-year national strategy and action plan for ending gender-based violence have been put in place.
Despite such commitments, recent events painfully illustrate that too many women and girls are still waiting for the respectful and equal treatment they deserve. Greater empowerment of women will mean that their children will also gain greater rights and protections, ensuring a better future for Nepal. It is time for concrete national action with effective implementation and reinforcement of commitments, norms and laws. Ending violence against women and girls deserves high political prioritization and sufficient public spending.
The 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/57sess.htm), which is just seven weeks away, will center on the priority theme ‘Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls’. This is an opportunity for Nepal to re-affirm, strengthen and action its commitment to ending gender-based violence.
The active participation of communities and individuals across the country in stopping violence against women is also urgently required. As the UN Secretary General put forward in a recent statement: ‘Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated. Every girl and woman has the right to be respected, valued and protected.’
The UN in Nepal is fully committed to support efforts to realize the rights of all women and girls and allow them to live lives free of violence.
UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal