Kathmandu, April 13

Amnesty International (AI) today expressed concern about the government’s lip service to ensure women’s right and end impunity.
“When the Maoist-led government assumed power, it made several commitments to safeguard women’s rights. But, in retrospect, the promises have been belied,” said Madhu Malhotra, deputy director, Asia-Pacific, AI.
She was critical of the ex-rebels’ revolutionary rhetoric that has failed to translate into action on the ground.
She lauded the women activists for making a large section of fairer sex across the nation aware of their rights.
“Women activists are often singled out for violent attacks so that they would desist from speaking out against social injustice,” said Malhotra.
She urged the policy makers to bring about changes in the patriarchal society that regard women as “second-class citizens”.
The government had set up a task force last July to make recommendations regarding burning issues like domestic violence. The move was initiated following the murder of a woman rights activist and the police’s inaction to make any headway in the case.
The task force is yet to submit its report, which was scheduled to be tabled within two months.
The government’s callousness has made life difficult for women activists, who continue to face a tough time to redress justice to domestic violence and gender discrimination.
Two activists have been murdered since the ruling coalition came to power last year.
The guilty are yet to be brought to book.
According to AI, many women activists have been ostracised for raising their voice against the system. They are facing intimidation, physical violence and even death threat.
“Whenever a woman takes a pro-active step, she is accused of practicing black magic. Gender-based violence is rampant in the eastern Tarai,” said a woman activist.
Amnesty International USA has opined that Uma Singh, a radio journalist and activist from Janakpur, was murdered for raising her voice against growing gender discrimination. She was hacked to death by a group of unidentified men on January 11.