The state went through the armed conflict for almost a decade. There were severe crime and violation of human rights during the period which has not been addressed by the state till date. Women and adolescent girls fall under the highly affected group that suffered from acute torture and even sexual violence. After the restoration of peace, various mechanisms are set up by the government for the transitional justice. However, still, the poor, marginalized people and the women are deprived of reparation and access to justice.
Most of the districts including Rukum of Karnali province fall under the highly affected districts during the insurgency. The mechanisms set by the government is still not enough and effective to address the justice for women survivors of conflict. As a result, the majority of women of this province are living in trauma and away from the basic needs including deprived of justice and their voice are not heard with empathy. In the present federal structure, all the province and local level are autonomous to formulate their own plan, policy, and program as per the need and demand. Thus to make the provincial government accountable for the transitional justice, a province-level close hearing program was held on 27th December 2018 at the province headquarter in Surkhet. WOREC together with Women Human Right Defenders National Network (WHRDs) and the Network of conflict survivors convened the event by inviting government and representatives from national human rights institutions. The delegation letter was presented by the president of Sahaj Network (a network of conflict survivor) Ms. Soniya Chaudahry to the government of Karnali province.
The 11 point demand of conflict survivors were presented as given below:-
1. We were compelled to face sexual violence by both the state and non-state actors during the conflict and our voices have been suppressed by the government at the time of transitional justice. Thus we draw the attention to the concerned authority to guarantee our rights and social justice.
2. The proper investigation of the violence we faced should be done and the special program for our economic empowerment and social justice should be assured on the basis of depth of violence we suffered from.
3. An enabling environment should be created in such a way that we the survivors can live with dignified life with the full sense of self-respect and well-being.
4. The definition of conflict survivors given by the Government of Nepal does not include the victims that faced physical, mental and sexual torture. Thus there should be the re-definition of conflict survivors.
5. The limit of age for the scholarship of the conflict survivor should be removed and there should be the provision of reservations in the government and other sectors.
6. The psycho-social counseling including women’s health counseling centre should be established in each ward to address the mental and physical illness of the conflict survivors.
7. For our sustainable livelihood, various forms of skill development trainings should be conducted at local and province level and economic opportunities and employment should be generated for the women survivors of sexual violence. Similarly, the government must assure the interest-free loan to develop women entrepreneurship.
8. An easy process should be set up to receive the vital registration and citizenship for the child born from rape and gang rape.
9. Due to the lengthy legal procedure and insecurity of victims, they are not able to report the case of violence. So the prompt and easy mechanism should be developed for transitional justice. Also, there should be no time limit to report cases of conflicts.
10. The government should take the responsibility for the reparation as per international standard and fulfill the basic needs- health, livelihood, and education of the one who lost their family members (including handicaps, children and elderly people).
11. The cases registered in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Commission for the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Person (CIEDP) and Peace Committee should be addressed as soon as possible. The behavior of bureaucrats involved in these agencies should be made public friendly.
The members of the Province government showed their great concern towards this issue and positive response on their demands. Chief Minister of Karnali Province Honorable Mr. Mahendra Bahadur Sahi said, “there is a great contribution of conflict survivors for the position that I hold today. I have been looking into the problems of conflict survivors closely and the provincial government is preparing the plans and policies for their justice and reparation." He even committed to establish a rehabilitation centre in Surkhet and send counselors to the community to support conflict survivors. He urged for the coordination and collaboration with the CSOs and government for the multi-sectoral response to the issues related to the conflict.