VAW debate deferred as govt mulls move

Kathmandu, August 13

The government’s failure to inform the House of Representatives about the day it would respond to a stricture registered in the House of Representatives highlighting the problems of violence against women  has led to deferral of a debate on the issue.

The HoR had listed the stricture for debate on August 10, but the debate has not taken place yet and there is no certainty when the House will debate the issue.

Lawmakers had registered the stricture in the HoR on March 26.

Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara told THT that he deferred the debate on the stricture, as he did not get government’s response on when it wanted to answer questions related to the stricture. “I am ready to initiate debate on the stricture the moment the government informs me of its readiness to answer the questions,” he added.

Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Binda Pandey, one of the proponents of the stricture, said the lawmakers supporting the stricture have put forth four demands in the stricture: people’s representatives of all tiers of the government should join the campaign against VAW  and should commit to punishing the perpetrators of VAW;  victims should be paid compensation and provided free treatment;  all sections of society, including civil society members and media representatives, should join the campaign against VAW on the designated  days; and a suitable message should be incorporated in school curriculum to minimise incidents of VAW.

“The issues that we have raised in the stricture concern all women and they are not specific to any particular incident,” she said.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Pushpa Bhusal said women lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties had supported the stricture.

“We decided to register the stricture because it is binding on the government,” she said. “Stricture will make the government accountable and it will also create awareness in our society against the evil of VAW. Minor girls and elderly women are being victimised.”

She said the stricture aimed to spread awareness among young men about lawful conduct because youngsters and adolescents were found to be the perpetrators of VAW.

Bhusal said the Parliament had passed four strictures on May 30, 2006,  highlighting the violence against women and discrimination against women following which domestic violence law was enacted and provision guaranteeing that a child can obtain citizenship on the basis of mother’s nationality was incorporated in the Interim Constitution. “Stricture creates legal obligation and that’s why we want to pass this stricture,” Bhusal added.

Asked why the government was not ready to discuss the stricture in the House, Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa said the government was holding consultations on the issue. “The government has already made its commitment to tackle violence against women, but as far as the stricture is concerned, the government wants to decide how it can best furnish its response to the stricture,” the minister added.