We Are In The Campaign To Create Human Rights-Friendly Rural Municipality

Shubhakalika Rural Municipality is one of the six rural municipalities in Kalikot district, which encompasses a total of nine local levels. According to the National Census 2021, the population of this Rural Municipality is 17,639 with 8,512 females and 9,127 males.The literacy rate of this Rural Municipality is 95.06 %.

Edited part of the conversation between Kali Bahadur Malla ,INSEC representative and Govinda Prasad Acharya, Chief  Of the Rural Municipality:

What is the situation of human rights in the Rural Municipality?

In Kalikot district, which has been deeply affected by armed conflicts in the history of Karnali province, numerous cases of human rights violations have occurred over the years.

Among these incidents, rights violations have also been reported in Shubhakalika Rural Municipality. Nevertheless, there has been a notable decrease in human rights violations in recent times. Our understanding is that the decline in incidents of rights violations has been gradual, possibly due to the implementation of awareness programs focused on women, children, and Dalit rights by various organizations, including People’s Representatives and INSEC. Because of everyone’s efforts, citizens have become aware of human rights today. Violence, insults on the citizens of the community have started to end.Victims of various incidents have started to seek and receive justice.

What kind of plans has the rural municipality made and implemented for the protection and promotion of human rights?

We have done various works for the upliftment of women, children, senior citizens, disabled people, tribals, Dalits, poor, single women and other disadvantaged groups so that no one is deprived from getting the fundamental rights and human rights granted by the Constitution of Nepal.The ongoing efforts have focused on raising awareness among those who have experienced human rights violations and facilitating their access to justice. Additionally, the establishment of the Karnali Kopila Syahar Susar Kendra has provided support and care for destitute orphans and vulnerable children.

What initiatives has the Rural Municipality taken to reduce violence against women?

We have conducted various public awareness programs to reduce violence against women. Also, for the first time in the district, the rural municipality is working by appointing a women and child welfare officer. We have been conducting interactions, seminars and campaigns against gender violence to end all types of violence against women. Doing such programs has greatly helped in reducing violence against women.The awareness program aims to empower women who have experienced violence to advocate for justice and raise their voices against such injustices.

The local government has the right to prepare the local curriculum and teach it, but what efforts has the rural municipality made in this regard? 

The imperative to formulate a localized curriculum encompassing the Magar language and indigenous cultural elements has remained unfulfilled in Shubhakalika Rural Municipality due to various challenges. We held educational seminars three times on various educational subjects including the local curriculum.In the upcoming fiscal year, we are dedicated to upholding children’s fundamental right to education by both developing and executing local curriculum, fostering an environment conducive to effective learning.

Are citizens within the rural municipality deprived of their housing rights?

No one is homeless in this Rural Municipality.In order to safeguard housing rights for all citizens, the government has introduced the Citizen Accommodation Program. The local government has implemented it effectively.Due to the fact that INSEC has also emphasized on dry-grass-free housing, the campaign to make the rural municipality dry-grass-free in coordination with the federation and the state is in its final stage.

What has been accomplished in terms of health, environmental conservation, and efforts to combat discrimination within the rural municipality?

In terms of health, our rural municipality has emphasized on providing easy, simple and quality health services to its citizens.Residents are benefitting from convenient access to healthcare services through health units and birthing centers that are operational in all the wards of the municipality.We provide free helicopter service to pregnant women who are in difficult situations due to lack of regular transportation.We are allocating a budget of Rs 40,00,000  for the implementation of a health insurance program for  providing coverage for the marginalized and economically disadvantaged individuals within the community.

We have engaged in planting plants in areas affected by construction of physical structures to address environmental concerns, and we have also successfully implemented a Green School Program. When addressing the issue of discrimination, it is important to acknowledge that various forms of discrimination still exist within the community. As part of our efforts to combat this problem, we have been actively implementing awareness programs with the goal of eradicating discriminatory practices.

What have been the outcomes of INSEC’s initiatives within the district?

The work of INSEC in the district has made citizens aware of human rights.INSEC informed us about the Fifth Human Rights National Action Plan.

INSEC has been uncovering and bringing to light the concealed instances of human rights violations within the community through its yearbook.The annual yearbook published by INSEC has evolved into a valuable resource serving as a guiding reference for people’s representatives, such as ourselves, to assess the state of human rights in the community. To further enhance the human rights situation, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and formulate strategic plans for improvement. I have found that INSEC’s work in the district is effective as it raises voice for the protection of human rights, warns and discusses the situation of human rights among various stakeholders.INSEC has coordinated and collaborated with the local level in every way, so it has become easier for the local government to protect human rights.

What specific plans has the rural municipality formulated to ensure the protection of human rights during the policy program and budget implementation phase of the upcoming fiscal year?

Like the previous years, we have made programs to improve the areas of education, health, food and other good governance. Funds and programs have been allocated for the implementation of additional awareness-based initiatives aimed at safeguarding human rights. It seems that the human rights of citizens will be ensured if these kinds of programs are conducted effectively. We are on a campaign to establish Shubhakalika Rural Municipality as a human rights-friendly community.