KATHMANDU, AUGUST 8: The Home Ministry has decided to stop issuing citizenship certificates with disgraceful names and correct such names if the concerned citizens asked for it.
The Home Ministry’s statement has come after lawmakers raised the issue that many Dalits were given disgraceful names by civil servants after some media including Kantipur national daily reported the issue with the citizenship certificates.
“Our attention has been drawn by some news reports about the citizenship certificates issue with derogatory names and surnames,” said Phanindra Mani Pokhrel, spokesperson of the Home Ministry issuing a statement on Monday. “We have decided to stop issuing citizenships with derogatory names and correct existing such names if the concerned person wants.”
Biru Nepali- Kathmandu
Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker, was welcomed to Taiwan by leaders eager to accept American support. But when she departed on Wednesday, she left behind a crisis.
Pelosi met with Taiwanese lawmakers and then with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, offering assurance of U.S. support for the island that China claims as its own. The meetings, though light on substance, were widely welcomed in Taiwan as a rare symbolic victory in which a major foreign power showed its support in the face of intense opposition from China.
Taiwan is now bracing for China to begin live-fire military drills on Thursday — an escalation without recent precedent — that could encircle the island and drop missiles only 10 miles from its coast. China also suspended its exports of natural sand to Taiwan and stopped imports of certain types of fruit and fish from the island.
Diplomacy: The Biden administration has spent months building an economic and diplomatic strategy in Asia to counter China, and Pelosi’s visit leaves allies to wonder what damage has been done to the president’s united front. Europe, which mostly does not support the independence of Taiwan, has sought to stay out of the conflict.
In the region: Japan, whose westernmost inhabited island lies less than 70 miles from Taiwan, has increasingly come to view Taiwan as important to its national security.
In Singapore, where temperatures are rising at twice the global average, there is a real fear that extreme heat could make the affluent city-state uninhabitable.
That urgency has led to a government push for solutions. With the help of high-tech developments, including a mobile cart that measures radiation, researchers on the island are now trying to address urban heat through a program that the government said could be a model for other countries.
The program is aiming to build a computer model of Singapore, which would allow policymakers to analyze the effectiveness of heat mitigation measures.
Researchers say Singapore’s geographical position in Southeast Asia makes it a good model for others, particularly nations in the tropics. Situated near the Equator, the island has an average of 84 percent humidity and year-round temperatures that hover around 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
Data: A climate change study predicted that Singapore’s daily average temperature could rise between 35 degrees and 40 degrees Fahrenheit toward the end of this century.
What’s next: Singapore has planted 388,000 trees toward a goal of one million trees by 2030. “The prevailing hypothesis now is that the presence or absence of shade in a place like Singapore is the critical determinant in adjusting to heat exposure,” Winston Chow, a climate researcher, said.
U.N. peacekeepers opened fire at a border crossing on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing two people and injuring 15 others amid escalating protests demanding the agency’s forces to leave the region.
The gunmen were arrested, the country’s top U.N. official said, adding that he was “deeply shocked and dismayed” by the “unexplained” shooting. The killings came just days after at least 19 people, including three U.N. peacekeepers, were killed and 60 others injured in demonstrations against peacekeeping missions.
Protesters said that the U.N. soldiers had failed to protect civilians against a surge of violence carried out by an array of militant groups. Since late last year, hundreds have been killed or injured and more than 160,000 people have been displaced.
KATHMANDU, JULY 8: Chairman of Indigenous Nationalities Commission Ram Bahadur Thapa Magar honoured two indigenous nationalities journalists including former central committee member of Federation of Nepali Journalist (FNJ) Tika Ram Pradhan at a function held in Kathmandu on Friday.
Pradhan and another indigenous journalist Nilipha Subba were handed over the Federation of Nepali Indigenous Nationalities Journalists (FONIJ) UK award for their contributions to the indigenous people through journalism.
Addressing the function, Chief Guest of the award ceremony organised by the federal committee of FONIJ Thapa Magar said the award would encourage more and more indigenous journalists to write for the cause of the indigenous people of the country. “The two journalists have been continuously writting for the cause of indigenous people and this award would not only encourage them but also the journalists of newer generation,” Thapa Magar said.
Former chair of the FONIJ-UK chapter Biswasdip Tigela briefly explained about the establishment of the award.
“The award was established to encourage Nepali journalists to write in favour of the indigenous nationalities,” Tigela said congratulating the award winners.
The award includes a purse of Rs 25,000 each.
Besides Tigela, Nagendra Nembang-advisor to the FONIJ-UK chapter, Gelje Lama Sherpa-chairman of Federation of Nepali Indigenous Nationalities–an umbrella organisation of indigenous people of the country and Chairman of FONIJ federal committee Gajurdhan Rai also congratulated the journalists on their awards.
The panel formed by FONIJ-UK to choose the winners had selected Pradhan, who is currently affiliated to The Kathmandu Post national daily and Subba, who works for BFBS radio, for the award.
Nepali American prominent social leader Dr. Bishnu Maya Pariyar has been appointed to the New Jersey City as a women’s Advisory board member. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulp’s former advisor to the diversity and inclusive Board, Dr. Pariyar, is also a Jersey City employment and training committee member. The Jersey City women’s commission was formed on January 26 under the supervision of Council President Joyce Waterman and Dr. Pariyar.
Though the childhood of Bishnu Maya Pariyar was fraught with adversities, the problematic early life experiences instilled all the essential leadership characteristics in Dr. Pariyar. Dr. Pariyar is a role model for millions because she did not only eradicate the deep-seated social discrimination but also empowered women through advocacy and promotion of social inclusion, gender diversity, and equality for everyone.
In the U.S., Dr. Pariyar has vast professional experience working in family advocacy and prevention of domestic violence. She is also the founding member of the Association for Dalit Women’s Advancement of Nepal. She has also served on the New Jersey Mayor’s Advisory Committee on diversity and inclusion and is currently a Jersey City Employment and Training board member. In recognition of her meritorious service in social justice, she has been awarded hundreds of prestigious awards.
Dr. Bishnu Maya Pariyar, NJ Mayor Advisor, has played a crucial role in materializing this sister city concept. Indrawati village is one of the first towns that has become a sister city to the other cities in the nation.
Presently, Dr. Pariyar is the senior program coordinator at Hudson Speaks under Care Point Health in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA. Hudson Speaks is a leading non-governmental and non-governmental emergency response organization against sexual violence in Hudson County, New Jersey.
The candidates, vying for two top executive posts at local units in the Kathmandu Valley, promised they’d ensure a violence-free, safe and empowering environment for women.
Women candidates contesting for various positions in the upcoming elections shared their commitments to women-related issues during an interaction in the Capital on Monday. The event saw women candidates representing four major political parties vying for various posts in Kathmandu and Lalitpur metropolitan cities.
The event aimed at providing a space for female candidates to discuss their plans to address violence against women, employment generation for women who work as migrant workers, and cases related to gender-based violence that are in limbo in various courts.
Among the participants were two mayoral candidates of Kathmandu—Samiksha Baskota (Bibeksheel Sajha Party) and Srijana Singh (Nepali Congress)—and mayoral candidate of Tokha Municipality, Rajani Thapa (Nepali Congress).
All three candidates spoke of their plans to ensure a violence-free, safe and empowering environment for women.
All of them echoed the need for a safe city for women, including in public vehicles and workplaces.
Baskota, a lawyer by profession, also spoke on the need for accessible public restrooms for women and proper sewage management.
Congress candidate Singh, who has dedicated years of her life to social work, emphasised her plans of installing CCTV cameras in public vehicles to ensure women’s safety, and her vision of a city where women can walk alone even at night. “I want a city where I can walk alone at night,” she said.
Singh recounted her days in youth politics and spoke in detail of her family’s political legacy and its influence on her. Her commitments also included the need to protect daily-wage female workers and working mothers.
Moreover, both Singh and Thapa spoke of the need to generate political awareness among women about their rights and laws to ensure their safety.
Thapa explained her plans of providing free legal support to women who have experienced any forms of violence.
The event was also participated by three deputy mayoral candidates of Kathmandu—Binita Majhgaiya (Rastriya Prajatantra Party), Kirti Tuladhar (Bibeksheel Sajha Party) and Sunita Dongol (CPN-UML).
Majhgaiya, a conservation architect, talked about the need to ensure safety of women at their workplaces, from workplace harassment to gender inequality and gender pay gap. She also questioned if installing CCTVs at public vehicles would be sufficient to guarantee women’s safety.
“The CCTV will allow us to gather evidence to file complaints later but that is insufficient to protect women when they are being harassed,” said Majhgaiya.
She cited Lalitpur Metropolitan City’s regular police patrolling initiative as an additional and more effective measure to counter harassment in public vehicles.
Majhgaiya also discussed gender roles and microeconomic decision-making of women and laid out her plan to contribute to the judicial committee and conduct of businesses.
Dangol, UML’s candidate for Kathmandu’s deputy mayor, made a brief appearance at the end of the function. She said she had to be at many places and couldn’t attend the event earlier and spoke of her zero-tolerance policy for violence against women.
Deputy mayoral candidate for Lalitpur Swarnima Shakya (Rastriya Prajatantra Party) discussed her plans of ensuring women’s empowerment and guaranteeing freedom of speech.
The event concluded with an interactive session with the audience. Audience members raised questions to the candidates who hadn’t left.
Questions about inclusivity among the ‘woman’ identity were raised, whether they included dalit, janjati, squatter residents, or adult entertainment workers.
To which, Baskota, representing the panelists, responded that they commit to work for everyone, regardless of party affiliations.
Source : Kathmandu post
I am very proud that the UK has been able to help so many people recover from the 2015 Earthquake: Nicola Pollitt, British Ambassador to Nepal
Kathmandu: The British Embassy’s post-earthquake reconstruction program has helped more than one million people recover from the devastating impacts of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquakes.
Marking the 7th year anniversary of the Gorkha earthquakes, the Embassy said, ‘The Embassy has spent over £100 million in responding to the 2015 Earthquakes in Nepal. Its support has reached over one million people. Other UK support has provided an additional £100 million for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Adaptation in Nepal to help further build Nepal’s resilience.”
On 25 April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, causing widespread damage to infrastructure and loss of life.
Since its inception, the UK government’s post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction support has achieved several milestones targeting earthquake-affected and vulnerable communities, according to a statement issued by the Embassy.
The support includes providing over 250,000 people with access to water, helping over 37,000 vulnerable people recover from lost livelihoods, rebuilding over 350 km of trails and bridges, and improving access to roads, helping over 300 small and medium enterprises to develop, and supporting 22 local governments to deliver on their planning processes.
Similarly, the program also facilitated the enrolment of approximately 450,000 people with damaged houses in the Government’s Housing Reconstruction Grant. It also supported earthquake-complaint rebuilding and retrofitting of over 4,000 houses, and conducted geo-hazard surveys to support the safe relocation of those living in high landslide risk areas.
These interventions focused on building back better and helped identify ways to include vulnerable populations in the recovery and reconstruction process, reads the statement. “The UK will continue to work closely with the recently established National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Agency (NDRRMA) at the Ministry of Home Affairs. NDRRMA is a key government institution tasked with strengthening Nepal’s disaster risk reduction and management including preparedness and response.”
“I am very proud that the UK has been able to help so many people recover from the 2015 Earthquake. I am equally proud that we are continuing UK investments to help Nepal’s people cope and recover from future shocks even more effectively,” said Nicola Pollitt, British Ambassador to Nepal.
Disaster Risk Reduction is critical to protecting Nepal’s vulnerable populations. We very much appreciate the UK’s past support for the earthquake reconstruction and the additional support for this important agenda, said Anil Pokhrel, Chief Executive of the NDRRMA
The UK is also collaborating with Nepal’s development partners to help deliver increased support for Green, Resilience and Inclusive Development (GRID) in Nepal. This is expected to see an increase in support for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as to protect vulnerable communities from climatic and earthquake shocks.
To demonstrate its commitment to this agenda the UK is now in discussion with Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) to provide additional support to build resilience to future shocks, as part of the UK’s overall efforts to support Nepal’s Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development.
Continuing to invest in disaster preparedness and resilience will help ensure a safer future for Nepal. The UK is already investing £100 million in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate adaptation to further build climate resilience in Nepal.
Prem Pariyar thought an overseas education would be a way out of the caste discrimination he faced in central Nepal. But he was mistaken.
Shortly after arriving in the United States, he accepted an invitation to have lunch at a friend’s place, someone he had known back home. When it was time for the meal to be served, Mr. Pariyar – who is Dalit, an oppressed caste historically considered impure or “untouchable” – was stopped by the host’s wife. “I was told not to approach the food because I would pollute it,” recalls Mr. Pariyar. “Caste discrimination does not require a visa. It travels everywhere.”
It’s a common story. Young people from lower castes go abroad to escape discrimination and seek new opportunities. Once they arrive, they find the same caste dynamics at play in the classroom and beyond. Over the past few years, several major U.S. colleges have updated their nondiscrimination policies to include caste, including Brandeis University in 2019 and Colby College in 2021. Thanks in large part to Mr. Pariyar’s own activism, California State University this year became the country’s first public university system to ban caste-based discrimination. The new policy has sparked backlash from some faculty and Hindu groups, but also reinvigorated efforts to fight caste discrimination in the U.S. and back in Nepal.
WHY WE WROTE THIS
The growing push to address caste discrimination beyond South Asia reflects a changing understanding of the caste system – and an emphasis on fairness.
Sarita Pariyar, writer and board member of Samata Foundation, a Dalit think tank in Nepal, believes that CSU’s recognition of caste sends an important message to political leaders, educators, and the public. “Wherever Nepalis go, whether to the U.S. or the moon, they will not accept untouchability,” says Ms. Pariyar.
Outlawed, but ingrained
Similar to India and Sri Lanka, Nepal has a long history of caste. The hereditary system broadly divided communities according to the Hindu model of four social classes, or varna: Brahmins (priests and teachers), Kshatriya (rulers and warriors), Vaishya (merchants and teachers), and Sudra (servants and laborers). Below the Sudra are Dalits, formerly known as “untouchables.” Over time, these classifications were codified into laws that transcended religious lines.
Mr. Pariyar grew tired after years of harassment while working as a teacher in Kathmandu. “Everywhere there was resistance and trouble,” he says, but the final straw came in 2014, when a gang of roughly 30 dominant-caste people attacked his family at their home. Mr. Pariyar’s father had been about 50 cents short while buying a tailoring machine that day, and the seller was offended by his request to pay the money later. The father was hospitalized for severe injuries. Mr. Pariyar says he had to knock on the doors of politicians and human rights activists before the police allowed him to file a complaint, and the family was later pressured to drop the investigation. Mr. Pariyar moved to the U.S. the following year, and not long after enrolled in the social work master’s degree program at CSU, East Bay.
Caste travels west
Vipin P. Veetil, an economist based in India, says the caste system has forced the lower caste into menial professions and barred them from receiving an adequate education in South Asia, leading many to head west in search of better opportunities. But they often find Brahmins dominate higher education overseas as well – as Dr. Veetil noticed during his Ph.D. studies at George Mason University.
A 2016 survey conducted by the Dalit civil rights organization Equality Labs suggests a third of Dalit students in the U.S. face discrimination during their education. One in 4 Dalits surveyed experienced verbal or physical abuse, and half said they were afraid of their caste being “outed.” More recent surveys and media reports have also found evidence of caste-based favoritism in Silicon Valley, as well as harassment in social and community spaces.
Dr. Veetil says that CSU’s decision and others like it provide a “protection to make the American dream come true” for the lower castes.
Before the change, Mr. Pariyar noticed that his colleagues at CSU spoke about gender, race, and other inequalities in class, but seemed unaware of what he saw as the biggest injustice occurring in South Asia and among the diaspora. When he tried discussing his experiences with casteism, professors and other South Asian students denied any knowledge of modern-day discrimination, leaving him feeling embarrassed.
But he kept speaking up, and eventually a professor connected Mr. Pariyar to Equality Labs, spurring more formal activism. The graduate student began seeing results last year, with the Cal State Student Association voting to recognize caste as a protected status and the University of California, Davis, where Mr. Pariyar also lobbied for change, adding caste to its protected categories in November.
Calls for acknowledgment were picking up steam, even among students from the dominant caste, recalls Mr. Pariyar, who graduated in 2021. “This movement has become an interfaith and interracial coalition,” he adds. Then, in a historic move, CSU’s board of trustees voted unanimously to make caste a protected category in January, effective on all 23 campuses.
Fixing or fueling stigma?
Some faculty and Hindu groups disapprove of the change, arguing that caste discrimination would already be prohibited under the university’s rules on race, national origin, or ancestry.
In an open letter to the board of trustees, more than 80 CSU faculty members anonymously wrote that highlighting caste will “cause more discrimination by unconstitutionally singling out and targeting Hindu faculty of Indian and South Asian descent.”
The new policy “is an arbitrary, unjustified, and a deeply offensive affront to their decades of service,” says Ms. Shukla by email, adding that CSU has created a new problem by “institutionalizing implicit bias and discrimination against all people of Indian and Hindu heritage.”
Many Dalits and allies disagree. They argue caste already follows South Asians overseas, but incidents of discrimination or exclusion often go unreported because of the lack of formal recognition in schools and workplaces. Mr. Pariyar’s success has inspired other students to push for caste protections at their own institutions.
Experts say change will be more difficult – but equally, if not more, important – back in Nepal, where discrimination is rampant despite being illegal. But Ms. Pariyar, from the Dalit, think tank, says Mr. Pariyar’s persistence is a reminder for Nepali students not “to remain silent on unacceptable casteist slurs and caste-based discrimination, especially in higher education.”
Source : www.csmonitor.com
When Raj Kumari BK was elected a Dalit woman representative of Ward No 6 of Beni Municipality in Myagdi, she had lots of expectations. First, it was an opportunity for her to represent her community, Dalit, which has been historically the most marginalised. Second, she hoped to make her mark as an elected representative.
As she is close to completing her tenure, she feels she was further marginalized during the last five years.
“I thought I would fight for my community, but I myself was discriminated against by my colleagues,” said BK, who was elected from the CPN-UML . “I was not even allowed to speak in the meetings and whatever proposals I presented were all ignored.”
BK says she was kept out of decision-making processes and on several occasions meeting minutes were sent to her home for her signature.
BK is among the 6,567 Dalit women members who were elected in 6,743 wards of the 753 local units from the 2017’s local elections which were historic not just because they marked the commencement of the implementation of federalism but also because it had opened the door for the representation of Dalit women.
Election of these Dalit women became possible because of the mandatory provision in the Local Level Election Act which says one among four ward members must be a Dalit woman.
But BK’s experience tells a different story. The mandatory legal provision did increase Dalit women’s representation but society and the so-called upper caste people’s views barely changed, thereby Dalit empowerment still remaining a pipe dream.
“I was treated in such a way that as a Dalit woman, there was nothing I could contribute in decision making,” she said. “I as a representative was insignificant to my colleagues; what mattered to them was my signature.”
According to Section 6 (2) of the Local Level Election Act, prepared as per the spirit of the Constitution of Nepal, two women including a Dalit member must be elected in each ward.
But not a single Dalit woman was elected mayor or chairperson. Eight women from the community were elected deputy mayors or vice-chairs. Similarly, not a single Dalit women was elected chairperson in 6,743 wards.
The Dalit representatives said there are several committees at the local level where they could have contributed but they were never given an opportunity.
Dalit women ward members could be inducted in school monitoring committees, education committees, infrastructure development and management committees and budget drafting committee among others. But that didn’t happen.
Although caste-based discrimination is illegal , BK’s experience is she faced caste-based discrimination at the hands of elected representatives themselves.
“They used to avoid sitting near me at the meetings but after I kept on warning them against caste-based discrimination they gradually stopped such behavior,” said BK. “But in decision-making matters, I was by and large kept out of the loop.”
“They fielded me because they had to, by law, field a Dalit woman. I feel like being a victim,” said BK, who has studied up to the fifth grade.
Only 19 among 275 members in the House of Representative are Dalits while their number is just seven in the 59-strong National Assembly.
According to the 2011 census, 13 percent of the total population are Dalits but the Dalit community claims they are 20 percent of total population but most of them have hidden their identity fearing discrimination.
Dalit representatives say although the principle of inclusion has ensured Dalit women’s representation, in reality not much was done to empower them, as they were not given space and a level playing field.
“Dalit women’s representation became a tool to show that local governments are inclusive,” Deepa Sunar, a Dalit ward member in Butwal Sub-metropolitan City-8, told the Post over the phone. “Despite the indifference by other representatives, I always tried to become active in the meetings and express my views. However, I don’t remember any of my suggestions being taken seriously.”
Not just the ward members, even women vice-chairs from the Dalit community have bitter experiences to share.
Ek Maya BK, vice-chair of Khajura Rural Municipality in Banke district, said she was always discouraged when she tried to do something. Unlike the ward members, the vice-chairpersons have defined roles yet they were not given space to carry out their responsibilities.
“In the last five years what I experienced is that giving someone their rights alone was not important but you need to have a proper environment to exercise the rights and deliver results,” said BK, the vice-chair. “I will regret all my life that I could not deliver despite getting the opportunity. That’s the worst experience of my life and I’m very sad. I have no one to share my pain.”
Dalit rights activists say the represention proved mere tokenism because of the discriminatory mindset of the Nepali society and the dominance of the so-called upper caste males in local units.
They say although the law has made it mandatory to elect Dalit women in local units, there is no such provision for Dalit males so their representation is far from satisfactory.
Out of the total 293 mayors in the country, just six are Dalit men while just one among the total 460 rural municipality chairs is a Dalit male. Of the 6,743 ward chairpersons, only 197 are from the Dalit community and all are male.
“Dalit women were elected to local units just for the sake of fulfilling the legal requirement but nobody cared to empower them,” said Durga Sob, a Dalit activist and a central committee member of the Janata Samajbadi Party. “The problem is that those Dalit women representatives who were unaware of the power of their office could not perform while those who knew their authorities got no chance to exercise them.”
According to Sob, it’s not that all Dalit women representatives failed to perform their roles but in general their representation could not make much difference. She blames the state and the political parties for lacking any plan to empower Dalit representatives.
Renu Sijapati, general secretary of the Feminist Dalit Organisation, said there are three categories of Dalit women ward members: first are those with years of political experience; second are those who were active in non-governmental organisations; and third are those who entered politics directly without prior experience.
The third category of Dalit women members were denied any substantial role in local governance.
“For a majority of the members the past five years have been a learning experience,” she told the Post. “They have now understood their roles and know how to perform as ward members. If they are re-elected then they will work effectively.”
But at a time when women’s representation is at stake due to alliance politics, how many of Dalit women are likey to get a chance again so as really to get reelected to “perform” remains a question.