‘Govt working to control violence against women’

Kathmandu, September 27

Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa today told  Women and Social Committee of the House of Representatives that  the government was doing its job properly to control violence against children and women.

Thapa admitted that the rate of crime had risen, but he blamed capitalism for increasing incidents of crime against children and women. “The USA, which practices capitalism, also has high rate of crime and   and we also have increased rate of crime because we also have capitalism here. In capitalist countries, women are treated like an object to earn money,” Minister Thapa told the panel.

The panel had called Home Minister Thapa, Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa and Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal, among others,   to discuss issues of violence against women.

Minister Tham Maya Thapa said her ministry was going to organise a nationwide programme against VAW on October 6 from Kanchanpur district. She said local governments were key parts of the nationwide campaign and they were all collaborating.

Home Secretary Prem Kumar said the government was going to open women’s department in the police. Nepal Police Chief Sarbendra Khanal said there should be a one-stop solution centre.

Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa told the committee that the government was preparing to amend existing laws to impose stricter penalty for sexual assault on children and elderly women.

Minister Thapa  said the government had ensured continuous hearing of crimes committed against women and children,  including  hostage taking, domestic violence, rape, sexual misconduct and  human trafficking in order to deliver speedy justice in these cases. The minister said that the statute of limitations for filing FIR in rape cases was increased from 35 days to six months which created favourable situation for the victims to get justice. He said the laws were changed to provide free legal aid to all the women victims of violence.

“If a rape victim does not get any compensation from her perpetrator, then the  victim can get compensation from government fund and till now the government has provided a total of Rs 4,315,000 to 49 victims,” the minister said.

She said the government was trying to ensure that all 753 local levels set up their own gender violence prevention fund. She said that the government had been carrying out a nation-wide campaign against child marriage. She also said that the government had enforced recently passed violence against women stricture.

She said 710 crimes of rape and 391 crimes of attempted rape were committed in last five months.   She further said that from mid-April to mid-September 5,417 cases of domestic violence, 340 cases of bigamy and 40 cases of child marriage were reported across the country.

The committee directed the government to work honestly to control violence against children and women and to provide justice to the victims.

The committee also directed Nepal Police to ease the process for the victims to file cases. “We have heard that the victims are facing hurdles in filing cases,” Pal said.

The committee also directed the government to immediately amend federal, provincial and local laws, if necessary, to address the concerns of victims of VAW. It also told the government to come up with a long term plan to control VAW.