South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

World over 60th Human Rights day is being celebrated with the theme of “Dignity and Justice for all of us”. The notion of Human Rights ensures an individual as a member of society, to his/her right to social security, of the economic, social, political and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. Inherent are his/her right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law and to live peacefully.

However, in practice comparing both developed and developing countries the implantation part may have profound difference. More specifically, it is found that in the developing world an individual has remaind aloof from Human Rights aspect of life. It is also generally believed that Rights of an Individual and his/her Responsibilities go in tandem but it is experienced that in a society those asking for his/her personal rights have been neglecting their social responsibilities.

If a Sate pledges to the notion of Human Rights must also abide by it. In the Nepali context, as the State has vowed to respect the principles of Human Rights, on the other, the State itself has failed to protect the basic rights of an individual. The situation is such that an individual fears for his life as he takes his first step out of his/her home…abductions and indiscriminate killings have become a part of the daily life.

From the world experience and our own experience too it reveals that whenever violence erupts, the most affected in a society are the women and the children. More severe becomes the case of women in such a situation. Only recently in some VDCs of Sunsari District, some criminal groups sexually exploited women there…the situation became out of control…finally, the whole of the community were displaced.

In the mean time, each year from November 25 to December 10, world over movements are organized to stop acts of violence against women. However, back home women are still being treated as objects. The Nepalgunj episode wherein a Muslim Women was burnt alive by her family members for being unable to satisfy her family with the dowry she had brought from her maternal home, is a case where women are considered no more than an object in our society.

The Butwal episode where a girl was sold to the customers by the owner of a restaurant, is yet another deplorable act. These are just few examples of acts of violence against women in our society…in all such acts have made the life of a woman miserable.

Such shameful acts against a woman- who only because of her physical and mental condition becomes the target itself demonstrates that the society as a whole is yet to be mature or even cannot be recognized as a civilized one…thus a woman is yet to experience her rights within her own family, in her society and in general the State as a whole. Similarly, women are victimized sometimes misinterpreting and exploiting the religion as well.

It is known that, in any acts of violence not only the physical condition of the person is affected but it concurrently affects one’s mental condition. Similarly, when a woman is subjected to sexual exploitation or any kind of abuse, she is affected both mentally, physically and the trauma apart is the fear of being infected by the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Recently the Guardian Magazine in the UK dated 7th December, 07 in its women section carried a research based study that women are subjected to excessive work load and tension during the festival season as well. The research revealed that during Christmas, 46 % women are in tension, on the other, their male counterparts just 37%.

Likewise in Nepal, various activities aimed at reducing violence against women were carried out this year. In reality, such activities may help a little to give justice to the women but unless appropriate laws are enacted to protect the women from possible violence, they will mean less.

As a matter of fact, Nepal also belongs to the comity of nation who has pledged to fully commit itself to the notion of human rights. The state must workout some plans to fulfill such commitments but in reality the State has shown its sheer apathy towards its own commitments. It is true that the decade long insurgency too proved to the major stumbling block, yet the State cannot escape from the promises made before the international community. This delay has directly affected people’s lives; they have been barred from living a peaceful life in their own country. Thousands of women have been widowed, hundreds displaced, hundreds have lost their children and have been handicapped. The state is yet to provide relief to those victims and provide them justice. This is thus the lack of concern shown by the State to the women and in reality an act of human rights violence committed by the state against the women.