Nepal Discusses Women’s Effective Participation in Peace and Security

Date: Monday, September 19, 2011

Kathmandu - Nepalese women from all walks of life met today with senior officials of Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence and the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Nepal.

The meeting was held as part of the “Global Open Day for Women, Peace and Security: Gender Responsive Security Sector”, and to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The Resolution helps to increase representation of women at all decision-making levels for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.

This event also offered an opportunity for Nepalese women to present issues related to women’s participation, access to justice, law and policy related to the security sector of Nepal.

“The Open Day provides space for Nepali women to meet with the Government and the UN at the policy making level. They can voice their observations and contribute to ensure a gender responsive security sector,” said the UN Women Programme Coordinator, Nepal.

During the interaction, women demanded a gender friendly environment within all security institutions and also emphasized the need of gender responsive programmes within all levels of the Security Sector.

They reiterated that there is an urgent need to enhance women’s participation and their access to justice. The participants also recommended that UN agencies should extend necessary support to the concerned authorities to prevent undue political interference.

“Waiting for 12 years to inherit property for wives of missing husbands like me is too painful, this policy should be revised to make it more practical,” remarked Bhagwati Joshi from Kailali.

The Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers expressed the hope that the TRC and Disappearance bills will be passed soon. Fast tracks will be established by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare to address cases of gender based violence.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Defence expressed the importance of working towards gender responsive security sector without which peace process cannot move forward. He further highlighted the upcoming plan of action on democratization of Nepalese Army, which will address various issues of gender equality in security sector.

“I recognize the partnership with UN Women on capacity development of the Nepalese Army on UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 as a unique initiative globally. The importance of this collaboration between Government and Civil Society to provide inputs is making the democratization process more inclusive,” he added.

As almost 44% of the Armies Personals are forced to live in bunkers, the Government of Nepal has started a programme called “Bunker to Barrack” and committed to make this initiative inclusive for women.

“The door-to-door programme under the leadership of CDO could serve as a local level mechanism to reach out needy people. The implementation of the existing policies should be undertaken through adequate provisions of the financial and human resources and proper infrastructure,” said the representative from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“Experiences show that women’s participation in peace-building processes, especially at decision making levels is key to create a gender just society. It is up to us to seize this opportunity and build on the existing capacity and experience. Together we can engage women more in peace-building in Nepal,” said the UN Resident Coordinator.

The Open day was jointly organized by UN Women Nepal on behalf of the United Nations Country Team, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. Secretaries from the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, and senior officials from Ministry of Law and Justice, Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police participated as special invitees.

Media inquiries:

Mr. Ram Babu Shah, United Nations Information Center, UN House, Tel: 5523200, Ext. 1601/1600, Fax: 5543723. 5523991, Email: registry.np@undp.org,

Ms. Sama Shrestha, UN Women, Nepal, Tel: 4255110, 4254899, Fax: 4247265, Email: registry.nepal@unwomen.org