UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Dubravka Šimonović has commended Nepal on the substantive legal reforms during the past three years aimed at harmonizing its national legal system with the new constitutional provisions and international commitments to human rights, including women’s rights.
“If the Government gives priority to designing and implementing effective policies on eradicating violence against women, in cooperation with civil society, I am convinced that Nepal could accelerate the eradication of harmful practices such as chhaupadi, to ensure gender equality and the right of women to live free from a life of violence,” she said at a press conference held at the end of her visit in the capital on Thursday. This was the UN SR’s first official visit to Nepal that was held from 19 to 29 November 2018.
The legal reform process has resulted in the establishment of a robust legal framework on women’s human rights, however the process is still ongoing with many new laws under preparation, while the continued existence of some legislation and harmful practices that discriminate against women and lead to gender based violence and discrimination, combined with the current restructuring to a federalist system of governance with seven provinces and the devolution of powers to provincial and local levels, pose significant challenges for the country.
While recognising the many new laws that have been adopted related to sexual and gender based violence, she said considerable implementation gaps exist in almost all social policies related to women’s rights, ranging from various harmful practices, sexual violence, domestic violence to trafficking and continue to pose a considerable challenge.
The UNSR said she found recognition in Nepal that violence against women is a disturbingly common occurrence deeply rooted in the mindset and patriarchal attitudes that continues to have a significant negative impact on women, children and the wider community in Nepal.
She also expressed the hope that the recent recommendations provided by CEDAW, combined with those she will outline in her report, would assist the Government in its efforts to eliminate violence against women and to uphold women’s rights in public, and especially in the private sphere, and to ensure that they are able to live a life free from violence in line with their international human rights obligations and commitments under the CEDAW Convention and other UN human rights treaties, as well as the Sustainable Development agenda and its stand-alone Goal No. 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and eliminate discrimination and violence against women.