VAW cases rampant in Achham district

  • Much of the violence unreported
  • Five rapes reported in five months

Achham, November 20

Accham, a district in far-western Nepal, is ahead in terms of cases related to violence against women.

Domestic violence, rape, chhaupadi (seclusion from home and family during menstruation) and other gender-based violence and discrimination in labour wages are among the issues of women in Achham, Province 7.

This is what participants at an interaction on ‘Identification of issues of human rights’ organised here today shared. The programme was organised by the National Human Rights Commission at the district headquarters Mangalsen.

According to Women Development Officer, Bhagawati Aryal, though sexual harassment and violence against women is prevalent in the district, most of the cases go unrecorded as they remain unexpressed.

Women’s rights are not secure here due to deep-rooted patriarchal thinking, harmful practices against them and their least access to education opportunities.

At the programme, journalist Menuka Dhungana said child or early marriage is one the reasons behind increasing VAW cases in this remote district. Of the VAW cases registered at the District Police Office, Achham, most are related to domestic violence against women, but they are settled through mediation, as stated by Achham’s police chief Deputy Superintendent of Police Dadhiram Neupane.  Only one-third of cases are reported to the police while two-thirds are blotted out and in some cases, survivors/women are unable to visit the police administration to report what had happened to them.

Office data shows that a total of 154 VAW cases were registered at the office last fiscal.  Likewise, in the past three months, it recorded five cases of rape. In some cases, the perpetrator and survivor come together with a request to settle the case.

Achham’s Chief District Officer Kishor Kumar Chaudhary said the state bodies are fully committed and sensitive towards the guarantee of human rights.

NHRC officer Pawan Kumar Bhatta, sharing information about the NHRC’s work, duties and responsibilities with participants, expressed his grievances over the government’s apathy towards implementation of the NHRC recommendations.