Highlight of this programme:
As a result of the program, followings were the major achievements of the program under the gender monitoring activity for the implementation of the Arms Management Agreement:
- The local women participants had become able to conduct gender monitoring around the cantonment, prepare report highlighting suggestions and the recommendations for the stakeholders and submit report to the concerned authority for its implementations.
- The participants of national interaction including the high level government officials, the right based activists working in different organisations, the representatives of national and the international media, different political parties and the diplomatic missions and the representatives of women rights organisations have got the opportunity to know about the types of problems in and around the cantonment through the activity of gender monitoring.
- Apart from the above achievements the suggestions and the recommendations obtained from the monitoring process has created an environment to put pressure on the concerned parties for its implementation. It has also created such an environment to continue pressure on the stakeholders whether they have implemented the recommendations.
Details of the programme
After initially reaching a consensus on the 12 points Agreement between the Maoist and the Seven Party Alliance, the Nepal Communist Party-Maoist (CPN-M) and the Government of Nepal reached to an agreement on Comprehensive Peace Accord in 21 November 2006. This Accord had the objective of transforming more than a decade of violent conflict into lasting peace, Building upon the 12 point pact the Government and the Maoist also reached a tripartite agreement (this agreement also included the United Nations Mission to Nepal (UNMiN)) on Arms Management.
It was in fact a real joy for the Nepali people to have such agreements in place after such a long time of conflict. They were so glad to see that the control and the management weapons and arms would lead towards protecting them from the terrors like illegal killings, abductions, and gratuitous violence. These problems had existed for such a long period of time but the agreements had now helped to institutionalize the public’s desire of establishing a long lasting peace across the country.
Despite the significant movement towards peace it was disappointing for the women within the society that the issues relating to the protection of Nepali Women and the upholding of their rights were not included in the agreements at the time. It was seen as an opportunity now that the peace process was well underway to include these matters in the agreements particularly when women continued to suffer in the same way as they had done before and during the conflict. The issue of women’s rights had now become not only a concern of the local people around the cantonments but it was now also a matter of concern for all the Nepali citizens.
Taking into account this context as well as recognising the several issues mentioned above it was recognised by IHRICON that there was an urgent need to identify the situation of women inside the cantonments. IHRICON decided that the situation needed to be made public particularly about the situation in the Maoist cantonments and the impact upon local community. There was a need to particularly look at the impact seen by the women and children in these areas and to put pressure on the authorities who had the responsibility for conflict transformation – these people included members of the Government and of the Maoist Party who were there to improve the situation.
IHRICON decided to conduct monitoring training for the women of local communities and to carry out the monitoring involving the women participants of the training. It was also decided to conduct District level as well as National level interaction programmes that would involve the concerned parties. These groups were identified as part of the conclusions and the suggestions from the monitoring report produced for the purpose of having in place effective monitoring of the situation of the citizens around the Maoist cantonment areas. Apart from the monitoring report IHRICON also agreed to publish and distribute the bulletins which contained the information of all the activities which had related to the gender monitoring process which had taken place around the cantonment area and had covered the actions which were taking place to implement the Arms Management Agreement.
Recognising the need of implementing the above issues in a practical way IHRICON operated a four month project called “Gender Monitoring around the cantonment for the implementation of the Arms Management Agreement” with the financial support of USAID/OTI. During the first phase of this project monitoring work took place around the cantonments in Sindhuli and Kailali Districts. It was carried out along with the local women peace volunteers and the project took 6 month to deliver during 2006. Weekly bulletins highlighting the issues witnessed during monitoring were published in the course of project. A national interaction event was also organized in Kathmandu in 2007 following the suggestions made by the civil society, concerned parties and the monitors who had taken part in the project.
The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
- To make it apparent to the local women what should be the role of women in the peace building process by providing information about UN Security Council Resolution 1325,
- To conduct regular gender based monitoring exercises in and around the cantonments by involving local women. Prepare reports which would include the findings and recommendations of the exercise and then to submit the report to the concerned parties for implementation
- To provide support for the effective implementation of Arms Management Agreement in order to ensure the protection of women’s rights. At the same time making sure all the concerned parties were aware of the problems so that the occurrence of possible violations of women and child rights would not happen.
- To provide support to the ongoing peace process in Nepal and at the same time making sure that all the concerned parties were fully aware about the impact on the general public. This would be done through the activities that had been agreed upon and were being delivered in the context of the conflict transformation and the many possible obstacles in way of the peace process.