Conflict-hit women demand prompt response to their plaints

They have demanded free education for kids who lost both parents in conflict

Kathmandu, December 22

A national gathering of women affected by the decade-long armed conflict in the country concluded recently by issuing a 12-point Kathmandu declaration, which calls for a prompt response to complaints.

The two-day gathering organised by Women for Human Rights, Single Women Group from December 19 to 20 underlined the need to incorporate conflict-era cases of torture and sexual violence in the definition of conflict survivors.

The declaration seeks an immediate response to the issues of those women bearing the effects of conflict even after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord and guarantee of justice and compensation to the survivors. It calls for reinstatement of the Commission on Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deliver justice in an effective way. The tenure of both transitional justice mechanisms has already expired.

Demand has been made for empowering the WHR as a common organisation of conflict-affected women and omission of words ‘disarmed’ and ‘armed’ giving ambiguous meanings from the draft bill to amend the definition of conflict victims.

Collection of data on conflict-affected women and men separately, respect for the sentiments of women who faced sexual violence and rape during the war and construction of a peace memorial monument in honour of enforced disappeared people are other demands included in the declaration.

Conflict-affected women have also demanded identification of rape, torture and sexual violence victims; and interim relief packages, medical treatment, legal assistance and psychosocial counseling for them to live a dignified life. Birth registrations have been sought in case of those children born from the survivors of rapes during the conflict.

The document has pressed for opportunities for higher education to the children of the conflict victims.

“The state should take the entire responsibility of those children who lost their parents in the conflict,” it asserted, calling upon the government to develop an archive of conflict survivors.

A total of 127 women from all provinces were present in the gathering. Minister of Justice and Federal Affairs Bhanubhakta Dhakal said the government was committed to delivering justice to the conflict-affected women.