August 2023 Analysis: Gender, Social Inclusion and Human Rights

Posted by : Prashanti Poudyal


Date : 2023-08-31

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led coalition rejected the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission to investigate the 2007 Gaur Massacre. Rights groups have criticized this decision, citing that the proper investigation has not been done yet. The government also announced that the contribution-based social security scheme will now be expanded to include informal workers. The latest census revealed that the number of single women in Nepal has increased; experts cite the stigma associated with divorced women and widows to be the reason for women opting out of remarriage.


Timeline of Major Events

Date Events
5th August The Prime Minister called upon the protestors of the Gaur Massacre for a meeting and assured that he would constitute a home secretary-led panel to hold dialogue and deliver justice.
14th August The ruling coalition concluded that there is no further need to investigate the Gaur Massacre.
16th August The contribution-based social security scheme has been expanded to include workers in the informal economy as well as the self-employed.

The Gaur Massacre

Over the years, Nepal has undergone several political turbulences, wherein many lost their lives leaving many injured. One such political tussle, the Gaur Massacre of 2007 once again came to the attention, when relatives of the victims demanded justice, staging a series of protests in the streets of Kathmandu from July 29. However, a week after holding a meeting with the protestors and promising them an investigation, PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal together with the ruling coalition on August 15 concluded that no further investigation was necessary.

On March 21, 2007, as many as 27 Maoist party workers were brutally killed, with 115 more injured in the incident. Later, those killed during the incident were compensated, with Nrs 1 million each, while most of them were declared martyrs. The government now reasons that the victims' families have already been compensated and the matter resolved, leaving little room for any further investigation. Furthermore, deaths also took place in the three Madhesh Andolans, where many lost their lives and are still awaiting justice - they also demand a proper investigation. The government should be careful to not ignite conflict and upset victims of other political turbulence while delivering justice to the victims of this massacre.

Informal Workers also Participate in the Social Security Scheme

The government is all set to create the most comprehensive social security plan for contributors. After including migrant workers a few months ago, it has now decided to also include informal workers.

The Social Security Fund currently has 700,000 formal sector employees and migrant workers enrolled. The contribution-based social security scheme has now been expanded to include workers in the informal economy and the self-employed. At the launching ceremony of the scheme, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal noted that 4-5 million workers are involved in the informal sector in Nepal and that they are vulnerable to job insecurity. He also noted that, in addition to providing financial security, the scheme will also help formalize the informal economy. The government has made a laudable effort, but the true test of its success will be in its implementation. The informal sector can be difficult to track; further, if not implemented well, it may never reach the ones targeted. It is no secret that the government comes with good schemes now and then, however, it has failed often to implement them well.

Rise in Single Women

The 12th National Census has pointed out that the number of single women after marriage rose to 7.3 percent in 2021 from 1.5 percent in 2011. Single women include widows, divorcees, and separated women, who had once been married. Interestingly, the percentage of single men also rose in the 10-year period, however, not in the same proportion. Single men, on the other hand, rose just by 1.5 percent in 2021, from 0.5 percent in 2011.

Experts believe that, as compared to men, it is not easy for women to remarry, as our society is not accepting of the second marriage of women. Further, women have to also shoulder the responsibility of raising their children, which bars them from remarrying immediately. Embedded stigma is to blame for the same. However, the escalated trend for single women is attributed to education, which has in turn empowered women to end an unhappy marriage.