News Digest: Human Rights, Gender and Social Inclusion (September 16 – 22, 2021)

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Human Rights

Human Rights and Peace Society organised a peaceful demonstration at Maitighar on 21st September, demanding speedy ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) by Nepal. Nepal has signed the treaty when it opened for signature on 20th September 2017, but not yet ratified the Treaty. The government has stated that it is committed to ratifying the treaty at the earliest possible. 

Gender Based Violence

Constant disruption, political instability and acts of belligerency committed in the parliament has led to delay in approval of two important ordinances to tackle crime and punishment by revising the provisions in the National Criminal Code, 2017 (2074). The first ordinance- Acid and Other Fatal Chemicals (Regulation) 2020, aimed to increase the punishment to perpetrators of acid attacks to 20 years jail terms, and Nrs.1 million in fines. It also had imposed restrictions on open sale of acid. The second ordinance aimed to amend the penalty in cases related to rape settlement- stipulating a three-year jail term for those attempting to settle rapes cases out of court. The validity of ordinances has lapsed as the Parliament failed to ratify it within 60 days of being presented to the House. The government either has to issue new ordinances for the lapsed ordinances or present new bills in the Parliament. 

A 17 years old girl’s dead body was found buried in the jungle in Udaipur, Triyuga Municipality-6. The Police and the family members of the victim suspects that the victim was gang-raped and brutally murdered thereafter. The case is under investigation. 

Despite the strict legal provision and ample interventions against child marriage by the government and non-governmental organisation, 84 cases of child marriage were reported in the fiscal 2020-21 against 64 in 2019-20, an increase by 31.25 per cent. Major causes for under-age marriage were undue pressure from parents or guardians, lack of awareness and deep-rooted superstition. As per the section 70 (d) of The National Civil (Code) Act, 2017 (2074), child marriage is referred to as a marriage entered into by a male or a female before attaining the age of 20 years. Child Marriage is also a criminal offence under section 173 of the The National Penal (Code) Act, 2017 (2074). 

Child marriage leading to teenage pregnancy have badly affected women’s health in Bajura. As per the report of health workers in Bajura, pregnant women below the age of twenty years of age have faced  major health complications and are also at high risk of death during delivery. 

Social Inclusion

On 19th September, Civil Society Activists organized a demonstration under the banner of the citizens movement—Brihat Nagarik Andolan, demanding to amend the Constitution. According to the activist, the Constitution has failed to protect the rights of Janjati, Dalit, Madeshi,Women and other marginalized communities and guarantees social justice and human rights only on paper.

Students returning home after finishing their exams. Photo: RSS

Students from marginalized communities and low income families feel helpless and are left behind as they are unable to join online classes and connect with their teachers due to lack of the internet facility and digital devices.

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