Witchcraft And Women’s Rights In Nepal

Woman Thrashed in Nepal for WitchcraftLahan, Nepal: As incidents of women facing inhuman treatment and torture on charges of witchcraft continues unabated across Nepal, a conference of women rights activists underscored the need for endorsing the country’s proposed anti-witchcraft bill at the earliest.

The conference, which included women’s rights activists from five districts of the eastern region, was held in Lahan and demanded that the first meeting of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly should endorse the draft of a proposed anti-witchcraft bill prepared by National Women Rights Forum of Kahtmandu.

Before concluding Monday, the conference issued a 10-point declaration demanding safety for women and the assurance of an equitable society. It demanded that parliament pave the way for drafting a strong legal framework to ensure stringent punishment for perpetrators of gender-based violence.

The conference was organized by the Lahan-based Dalit Walfare Youth Club, and included women’s rights activists from Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Morang and Dhankuta districts. After lengthy discussions and deliberations on the issues of the violence faced by women in Nepalese society, the conference concluded that the anti-witchcraft bill should be passed by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly on January 22nd.

The conference also concluded that despite the protection from the law, women are subjected to various sorts of discrimination in society.

In its 10-point declaration, the conference also demanded a provision of amicus curiae to provide suggestions to the court on issues of gender-based violence, rape and sexual misconducts to facilitate fast-track decisions on the issues. The declaration also demanded setting up a Secured Home Service Center for the victims of gender-based violence and underscored the need for making the local authorities and NGOs responsible for the rehabilitation of the gender-based violence victims.

The provision of one-door crisis management centers, closed court hearings for the victims of serious offences of gender-based violence, introduction of new legal frameworks to provide recognition to the household tasks executed by women as well as strict implementation of law to combat social ills like dowry system, are other demands put forward by the conference.

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