Call to incorporate torture, sexual violence in definition of conflict survivors
KATHMANDU: 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 prompt response to complaints pointing that survivors have been denied justice.
The two-day gathering organised by Women for Human Rights (WHR), Single Women Group on December 19-20 underlined the need to incorporate war-time cases of torture and sexual violence within the definition of conflict survivors.
The declaration seeks an immediate response to the issues of those women bearing effects of conflict even after the signing of Comprehensive Peace Accord, and guarantee of justice and compensation to the survivors.
Likewise, it calls for reinstatement of the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish justice in an effective way. The tenure of both transitional justice mechanisms has already come to an end.
Demand has been made to empower WHR as a common organisation of conflict affected women of all classes in terms of resources and technology, and omission of words 'disarmed' and 'armed' giving ambiguous meanings from the draft bill to amend the definition of conflict victims.
Other demands included in the declaration are collection of data about conflict affected women and men separately in upcoming census, respect to sentiments of women facing sexual violence and rape during the war who are yet to break the silence, and acceleration of work to construct a peace memorial monument in honour of the forced disappeared persons.
Similarly, they have demanded identification of the survivors of rape, torture and sexual violence; interim relief packages, medical treatment, legal assistance and psycho-social counselling to them so as to create an atmosphere where they could live a dignified life.
Birth registrations have been sought for the children born from survivors of rape during the conflict.
The document has pressed for opportunities of higher education to the children of affected people. "The sate 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 of all nature who are missed out from the previous listing.
A total of 127 women from all provinces were present in the gathering. Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said the government was committed to delivering justice to conflict-affected women and internal discussions were underway to determine best possible ways towards that end.