Kathmandu, September 21
Participants at a meeting on multi-sectoral services to respond to gender-based violence in Nepal have emphasised the need to form a provincial-level GBV Response Coordination Committee housed in the Chief Minister’s Office.
They also called for sensitisation on GBV prevention and response to elected representatives and local authorities to ensure resource allocation, annual monitoring of law implementation and common understanding of GBV as some of the key steps to prevent and respond to GBV in Nepal.
With the aim of countering these problems, UN Agencies comprising UN Women, UNFPA, WHO, UNDP and UNODC and Women’s Rehabilitation Centre had organised the meeting from September 18 to 20 in Kathmandu.
The workshop reviewed progress, achievements and lessons learnt in implementing Essential Services Package — a comprehensive package that outlines a series of ‘essential action’ to be taken by the government in health, social services, police and justice sectors, according to a press release issued by the UN Information Centre today.
“We have many laws to address gender-based violence, but implementation is slow,” said Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa, at the meeting. “The government is committed to addressing gender-based violence in Nepal and has been providing various services from different sectors.
This issue must be addressed immediately by concerned sectors at the national and local levels to provide the survivors with support,” she added.
The meeting brought together stakeholders and service providers from health, justice and social sectors in recognition that GBV response must be multi-sectoral if it is to be effective.
UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal Valerie Julliand in her opening remarks emphasised that violence against women was a fundamental breach of the human rights of women and girls, particularly the right to a life free from fear and violence.
“States have a primary responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfil the rights of women and girls. These obligations are detailed in human rights instruments, international agreements and accompanying declarations and policies that Nepal is party to,” she stated.
Gender-based violence remains a significant concern in Nepal, with numerous consequences for health, psychological, social and economic well-being of the victims/survivors.
Twenty-two per cent of women aged between 15 and 49 years have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and seven per cent have experienced sexual violence, according to Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016.
A version of this article appears in print on September 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.