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Nepal

Nepal lies between two most populous and economically powerful countries. The power politics is influenced by its geopolitical location. It is unfortunate that Nepal could not diversify its trade and transit due to heavy economic dependency on India. So it has limited freedom to maneuver foreign policy and development activities.

 

The term ‘Bangladesh’ has been in use since as long as we can remember. Our parents’ generation, despite the fact that they lived through the Partition of 1947 and became, willingly or compelled by geography, citizens of the new state of Pakistan, generally referred to Bangladesh rather than to East Pakistan despite the division of India. Of course, it was a sentiment they shared with the Bengalis who, after 1947, became citizens of the Indian state of West Bengal.

 
Equality is the most measured issue of democracy and baseline reflection of freedom. It positions top among all principles of human rights. Thus every state across the globe tries assuring that people are equally treated. Besides government, NGOs and INGOs too claim to work for the very notion. So is the case in Nepal. Still many people are discriminated, left devoid of freedom and sacked away from equality.
 

While newspapers in Nepal buzzed with news of domestic violence amidst 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence that started from 25 November to 10 December there were hardly articles written on Political violence of women. Maybe having a woman as President, a woman as Speaker and a woman as Chief Justice in Nepal might have overshadowed political violence of women. But let us not forget that the collective political violence was already committed when the second Constituent Assembly did not allow formation of woman’s Caucus.

 

The new constitution adopted last September had curtailed the rights of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), barring the constitutional body from investigating ‘improper conduct’ of public officials. The rights of the anti-graft body were rolled back even as it was working to make local laws compatible with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). 

 
A speech by a 20-year-old deriding political parties for their surrender to the Maoists at a programme to felicitate an army general a couple of weeks ago has gone viral in the social media in Nepal. The remarks made in the presence of army chief, Rajendra Chhetri, had a clear message: The army must rise up and save the country and penalise political parties for the current mess. Incidentally, the person being facilitated was Major General Ramindra Chhetri, who survived a near-fatal attack by the Maoists in 2002.  
 

Ten years have passed since Nepal ended its decade-long conflict. These last ten years have been not only an opportunity for Nepal to build and maintain peace, but it’s been a time of reflection and transformation.

 

The policy environment in Nepal for addressing the range of gender issues is increasingly positive. In this field, UK Aid’s aim is to support Nepal’s development by giving women and girls a voice, and opportunities to make choices, so that they can take control of their futures. We believe that if you empower women and girls, educate them, build their self-esteem and give them the agency to make decisions, they will be able to achieve the goals they set for themselves and men and boys will also benefit; everyone wins. So we are proud to be supporting the Government of Nepal in its work to enable all women and girls to reach their full potential.

 

Some 22 per cent of Nepali women aged 15-49 experience domestic violence at least once in their lifetimes, according to the National Demographic and Health Survey (2011).

 
The other day Kathmandu’s Radisson Hotel, off a tiny lane crammed on either side by stores with Nepalese and Himalayan knick knacks, was crawling with security officials. The president and prime minister, their senior cabinet ministers and top officials, as well as diplomats, intellectuals, media and scholars, packed the sprawling conference hall, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the end of Nepal’s brutal and divisive civil war.  
 


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