Nepal has witnessed serious human rights violations including arbitrary arrests, detentions, “disappearances”, extra judicial executions, abductions and torture carried out the by the Maoist rebels in the 10 years of the “peoples war”. Women and children have borne the brunt of the conflict. Massive displacement has led to adverse social and psychological consequences. The ten year long civil war in the nation has mostly affected women and children.
More than 12000 people have lost their lives, around 5000 of women have become widows and a large number of people have been internally displaced. Women and children have been bearing the major brunt of the war. The Maoists have throughout the conflict capitalized on the plight of women.
The conflict has also contributed to an increase in the trafficking of Nepalese women and young girls. Children have been particularly affected in many ways by the long and bitter insurgency.
During this transitional phase within Nepal the Institute of Human Rights and Communication Nepal (IHRICON) has been actively involved in Human rights’ monitoring, reporting and advocacy that can give support in bringing sustainable peace as well as increasing the awareness levels of the people about their rights.
IHRICON has been conducting various training events, seminars, conferences and interaction programmes on different aspects of the subject to assist in enhancing the peace building process. The program “Women Empowerment for Sustainable Peace & Human Rights” was implemented in 30 VDCs of Kailali, Dang, Gorkha & Sindhuli. These events took place between 2003 and 2008 and have been carried out with the support of CCO. The programme has directly empowered more than 1,000 women and promoted sustainable peace by involving them in income generating schemes.
After the completion of the project on “Women Empowerment for Sustainable Peace & Human Rights”, IHRICON organized a 4 day National Peace Conference, which was again supported by CCO. As a result of the completion of the programme the book “Successful Experience and Lesson Learnt” was published. The book has become a source of reference for other village women and it provides assistance to these women to enable them participate in the peace building process. The book has clearly shown the situation of local women at the time when the programme was initiated as well as details of the stage they have attained now.
The programme especially focused upon the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325. UNSCR 1325 highlights the participation of women by involving them in different awareness programmes based on the peace building process. The conference consisted of approximately 100 participants from 30 villages from the 4 Districts (Kailali, Dang, Gorkha and Sindhuli). The conference was conducted between 1st Feb. and 4th Feb., 2008
The National Peace Conference provided an opportunity for the participants to expose their skills they had acquired and the experiences they had gained and explored during the programme period from 2003 up until the date of the Conference in 2008. The participants of the national conference considered it to be a milestone and a springboard that had provided them with the vision to discover their future direction and it would ensure that the peace building process would deliver sustainable peace and prosperity within Nepal.
Objectives of the National Conference:
The objectives of the conference are set out below:
- To provide the village peace groups a platform for, and exposure to a national forum.
- To enable participants the opportunity to share the experiences of the programme with their colleagues and companions so that it will enable them to network effectively and share their vision to all.
- To design the strategy and plan for the future to ensure that the groups remain sustainable
- To identify the achievements gained during the project period.
Activities and procedure
The following activities and strategies were adopted:
- 100 participants from the Districts and 80 from different related and likeminded organizations located in Kathmandu valley participated in the event.
- The national symposium was focused on the activities of the 30 villages where IHRICON had been running the programme with the support of CCO
- Two thematic research papers were prepared on:
- Economic Sustainability and the livelihood of the members and
- The Empowerment in the Society from scholars i.e. Mr. Ananda Aditya and Mr. Shraban Sharma.
- A strategic planning session was also scheduled and allocated a full day to discuss and finalise the agreement
- All together 7 experts and resource personnel contributed towards running the national symposium. Two of them had thematic papers, four had the responsibility to comment on the papers and one was monitoring all the sessions and preparing a Strategy Concept Paper and a proposal that assisted in identifying the direction of the event to the participants and the programme
- At the end of the session the Kathmandu Declaration was adopted and issued. It was disseminated to the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Interim Parliament, the Peace Minister as well as to the press.
- 10 members of the IHRICON dedicating their entire time throughout the event to make sure that this was a successful national peace conference.
- A report book and the proceeding paper are currently being sent for printing and then publication.