KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 10: Speakers of a program have said an awareness revolution was essential to end all kinds of discrimination rampant in society.
Lawmakers and journalists have pointed out that various forms of discrimination against women, Dalits, and other marginalized communities are still rampant in society due to the lack of proper awareness among the people despite having the necessary policy, rules and laws.
They have made such comments at a function entitled “Situation of Gender-based Violence and Role of lawmakers” organized by Jagaran Media Centre on Thursday to commemorate the 73rd International Human Rights Day and as part of the 30th 16-day campaign against gender-based violence.
The speakers have expressed concern over the connection of religious, cultural, social and political aspects in the discriminations and violence against women and other communities which impedes their access to justice.
Presenting her paper at the function former commissioner of the National Information Commission Yashoda Timsina said very few applications were filed against gender-based violence despite the incidents are increasing, it is very difficult for the victims of such cases to get justice and they also lack awareness of legal provisions. She said some existing laws were also not sufficient and even they are not properly implemented.
Addressing the function, a member of the National Assembly Khim Kumar BK said there were laws to address the discrimination against women, Dalit, and other marginalized communities but they could not be implemented in practice.
He said some laws need amendment while more laws are necessary to address the existing problems of discrimination for which he was sensitive and working for it.
Member of the Bagmati Provincial Assembly Maina Achhami said there was an urgent need to take the awareness campaign against gender-based violence at the community level.
Speaking at the function rights activists Mina Swornakar said lawmakers do not raise voices on rape, murder, the violence of children and women. She said the silence against such brutality was the result of their connection with parties, class, ethnicity, and religion, on the basis of which discrimination against women, Dalit, and other marginalized groups are rampant in the society. All the speakers said that Dalit women suffer the most from both gender-based violence and caste-based discrimination.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
In support of this civil society initiative, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE campaign) calls for global actions to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts, and share knowledge and innovations.
The global theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which will run from 25 November to 10 December 2021, is “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”
During the interaction chaired by Kamala Bishwokarma, chair of the Jagaran Media Centre, rights activists Rajan Bishwokarma, Kalpana Bishwokarma, peoples’ representative of Lalitpur Metropolitan City-14 Sangita Achhami, Chairperson of Youth Advocacy Forum Narendra Khatiwada, advocate of Juri Nepal Bal Maya Bishwokarma, Rajkumari Dura of Nepal Disable Women Association, Anjila Lama of Blue Diamond Society, Student leader Rajan Nepali and journalists Laxman Darnal, Kamala Rasaili and Keshab Bhul had presented their views on various forms of violence and discrimination.
Enumerators say they found many families who were not keen to disclose their last names fearing eviction.
“I am a Dalit,” the 41-year-old said. “I am afraid that I will be asked to vacate the room if I reveal my surname.”
According to him, there are many Dalits in Kathmandu living in rented accommodations who fear they could be removed from their rooms and apartments if their landlords’ found out their surnames.
“They usually don’t disclose their last names or they use something else as their surnames, like those which are considered ‘upper caste’,” Laxman said.
For the fear of being evicted by his landlords, Laxman provided wrong details of all five of his family members, who have been living in Baneshwar for the last six years, to the enumerators.
“There is no option. To be honest, we lied about our last name when we sought accommodation in this house,” he said.
Sabita (also not her true name) has been living in Kirtipur for the last six years. The 44-year-old, who hails from Biratnagar, said her house owner knows her family as “kshetris”, one of the groups of “higher” castes in Nepal.
“There are four of us,” she said. “We have not revealed our actual caste before the house owner, so we did not tell the enumerators also.”
The national census was conducted from November 11 to November 25.
Enumerators say such a tendency of lying about castes by the Dalits was more common in urban areas.
For decades, Nepal has struggled to abolish caste-based discrimination and untouchability. When the Civil Act 1963 was introduced, its biggest focus was to make caste-based discrimination a punishable offence. The Untouchability and Discrimination Act, promulgated in 2011, and the Constitution of Nepal both provide clear protections for Dalits.
In May last year, Nabaraj BK and his five friends were killed and dumped into the Bheri river in Rukum (West) by a group of people from the so-called upper caste. BK had fallen in love with an ‘upper caste’ girl and her family was extremely unhappy that the boy was a Dalit.
Cases of discrimination rarely get to court and when they do reach the court, justice delivery is delayed. Even if they result in convictions, the offenders are given small fines or minimal jail time of a few months.
The trial for the Rukum (West) mass murder is still underway, more than a year since the incident.
The practice of caste-discrimination is so rife in the country that Dalits still continue to face problems when it comes to finding accommodations.
Bikas Khadka, an enumerator, said the reluctance to reveal surnames could hugely mirserepsent the Dalit community in the final census report.
“In around 200 houses that I visited, we found Dalits to have been using surnames like Risal, Ghimire, Sharma and Sapkota, among others,” he said.
Khadka, who was deployed in the Kalanki area for census data collection, said one of the families initially said their surname was ‘Sharma’ and later asked it to be changed to ‘Tamang’.
“But the daughter in the family suggested they belonged to the Dalit community,” Khadka said.
Khadka said he entered the surname that the family head told him.
Another enumerator deployed in the Kuleshwar area said she also faced problems while collecting details from the households as there were many families that did not want to reveal their surnames.
She visited around 250 houses in the area, she said.
“When asked about their surnames, they would say ‘just write the names, why do you need our caste,” she said. “When I tried to convince them that they should disclose their last names, some families said the society thinks lowly of them if they say they are Dalits.”
Some Dalit families, according to enumerators, however, revealed their surnames in private when the house owners were not around.
In the 2011 Census, Dalits numbered 3,499,497, which is 13.12 percent of the country’s total population.
In June, Rupa Sunar, a resident of Tanahun district currently working in the media sector in Kathmandu, had accused a woman of Babarmahal, Kathmandu of caste-based discrimination by refusing to rent out her house.
The issue made national headlines after the landlord was taken into police custody after Sunar filed a case on June 17.
The police released the house owner from custody on June 23 after the Kathmandu District Attorney’s Office said that investigation into the case was incomplete.
Rupa’s case highlighted the caste-based discrimination prevailing in the country, including in Kathmandu, the Capital.
Enumerators say the population of the Dalits on paper may go down if many families hide their real castes for fear of being discriminated against.
Sundar Purkuti, a member of the National Dalit Commission, said although there was no such problem in villages, the number of Dalits in the city could be reduced.
“We may not have the exact details because of the compulsion the Dalits in the urban areas face when it comes to revealing their true identity,” said Purkuti. “We had requested the Central Bureau of Statistics to ask the enumerators to collect details in confidentiality but it does not look like efforts were made.”
Bhakta Bishwakarma, acting chair of Dalit NGO Federation, said they had drawn the Central Bureau of Statistics’ attention to some issues ahead of the census.
“We submitted a recommendation that one should be allowed to write their last names. We had said that data should be collected by making a different column for caste where Dalits could be included as Bishwakarma, Mijar and Pariyar and so on. We had also requested the bureau to seek the ward offices’ help to count the number of Dalits in city areas.”
But neither the bureau nor the National Planning Commission paid heed to the suggestions, he said.
Hem Raj Regmi, deputy director general at the Central Bureau of Statistics, said that he does not think there has been any large-scale misrepresentation of Dalits only because they did not reveal their last names for the fear of getting evicted.
“Lately, people from Dalit and marginalised groups do not hesitate to say who they are, unlike in the past,” Regmi told the Post.
But he didn’t rule out the possibility of some Dalit hosueholds not disclosing their surnames.
According to him, the CBS guarantees privacy of respondents and enumerators were told not to seek any information that the responders might find sensitive.
“Certain respondents may have provided wrong information which we call ‘response bias.’ It happens in every study or census. Our job should be to minimise such response bias to the extent possible,” said Regmi.
Source : Kathmandu post
Agency: As negotiators at the Glasgow climate talks try to agree on greenhouse gas cuts, African leaders say poorer countries can’t be expected to remake their systems as quickly as wealthy ones.
Sub-Saharan Africa contributes about 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, among the lowest of the world’s regions. Yet African countries are particularly affected by the consequences of climate change.
Improvements can be costly, and many people still don’t have basic needs like electricity. Leaders point out that some wealthier countries keep natural gas in their own transition plans.
Context: Development banks and richer countries alike have been rolling back their support for fossil fuel projects, including ones in African countries with an abundance of fossil fuel resources.
Agency: Global markets weeks ago were fretting over the possible failure of China Evergrande Group, the property developer, as it grapples with $300 billion of unpaid debts. A broader panic contributed to a wave of defaults among Chinese developers. Property value is still falling, and sales are plummeting.
But the developer says the worst is over, and the Chinese authorities say the risks are manageable even as other companies show signs of trouble. Evergrande and Beijing are managing the company’s struggles in secret, allowing it to meet some payment deadlines without explaining how.
The approach may stem panic, but it papers over broader pressures on the sector. “The fundamental situation for Evergrande hasn’t really changed,” Matthew Chow, a China property analyst and director at S&P Global Ratings, said. “We remain sure that default is almost a certainty.”
In flux: More than a million home buyers are waiting for unfinished apartments, and the company may owe money to just as many workers. Another deadline for Evergrande approaches on Wednesday, when the grace period on $150 million worth of bond payments will end.
Agency: India’s coronavirus crisis, which was killing thousands of people a day just seven months ago, has eased after the nation’s leaders revamped policies and drastically ramped up their vaccination drive.
Now, as India celebrates the delivery of its one billionth dose, a feat that until recently seemed improbable, public health experts are sounding a new warning: The turnaround is losing steam.
Vaccinations are slowing, with only one-quarter of India’s population fully inoculated. People are crowding again for religious festivals, and the government is still taking the approach that things are calming down.
Numbers: By official figures, daily infections have plunged to about 12,000 per day, from about 42,000 four months ago. Deaths, too, have fallen by half, to about 400 per day. More than three out of four adults have received at least one shot.
Context: India’s progress is a key part of ending the pandemic globally. After a deadly wave, the government threw money at vaccine production, stopped vaccine exports and tossed out cumbersome rules that had made it hard for local officials to procure shots.
What’s next: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned from a climate conference, he met with officials to tackle areas of the country where fewer than half of residents were fully vaccinated.
Agency: International hacking experts said on Monday that Palestinians belonging to rights organizations that Israel outlawed had been targeted by spyware made by the Israeli tech firm NSO Group.
It raised questions about whether the Israeli government was behind the hacking, a claim that officials there denied.
NSO, which was recently blacklisted by the U.S., has been criticized for years for selling its spyware program, Pegasus, to clients that include authoritarian governments. Pegasus allows users to remotely monitor a phone’s location and extract contents including encrypted messages, video and photographs.
Details: The findings were presented in an analysis by Front Line Defenders, a rights group in Dublin; Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity watchdog affiliated with the University of Toronto; and Amnesty International.
Adam Shapiro, a spokesman for Front Line Defenders, said that the investigation did not definitively prove or identify who used Pegasus in this case.
Agency: Barack Obama, who helped to seal the Paris climate agreement six years ago, returned to an international climate summit to rally nations to heal the planet.
“To be honest with ourselves, yes, this is going to be really hard,” Obama said. He added: “Sometimes we will be forced to settle for imperfect compromises. But at least they advance the ball down the field.”
Negotiators from about 200 countries were entering Week 2 of climate talks trying to resolve big issues around money, transparency and timelines. Attendees are sharply divided over how much progress is being made.
Some are optimistic, pointing to flashy new promises and heads of state coming together. Others note that the gauzy commitments with decades-long deadlines often lack the concrete details to follow through. As the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg put it, “Blah, blah, blah.”
Quotable: “The actual negotiations here are in danger of being drowned out by a blitz of news releases that get great headlines, but are often less than meets the eye,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a research institute based in Kenya.
Recap: More than 100 countries agreed to cut methane emissions. Another 130 countries vowed to halt deforestation by 2030 and committed billions. India committed to net zero emissions by 2070.
Agency: The U.S. reopened its borders for fully vaccinated travelers from dozens of countries on Monday, ending 18 months of restrictions on international travel.
Emotional scenes and reunions played out at airports across the country, like in Miami, where a woman from Brazil met her newborn grandchild at the airport. In San Diego, a traveler from Mexico arrived for medical treatment.
Fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter the U.S. if they can show proof of vaccination and a negative virus test taken within three days of travel. Unvaccinated Americans and children are exempt, but must take a test within one day of travel.
Data: The loss in visitor spending amounted to nearly $300 billion, and more than one million American jobs were lost. The U.S. Travel Association does not expect international inbound travel to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.
The basics: Here’s what you need to know.
U.K.: Thousands flocked to Heathrow Airport in London on Monday for the first flights to America. Airline employees were dressed in Elvis costumes and waved flags. The mood was jubilant.
Changes: Some countries are restricted by the new rules. Russia was not one of the 33 countries under the old ban, but the country’s Sputnik V vaccine is not on the list of accepted vaccines for entry. So the door to the U.S. shut for many Russians on Monday.
India: Narendra Modi’s ruling party has long pursued a Hindu-first agenda. Now, its hard-line attitude toward Muslims has undermined India’s reputation as a voice for tolerance in South Asia.
The erosion of human rights in India has weakened its moral high ground in a region where the country has historically set the tone, and where sectarian conflicts are worsening. India’s tensions are also spilling out over its borders, as ethnic clashes deepen in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Balance of power: The shift could open opportunities for China, which has used the promise of investment and access to its hard-charging economy to cultivate stronger relations with its rival’s neighbors.
Agency: Joe Biden said he would sign a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the House after rare bipartisan compromise.
The legislation is the largest public works bill since Dwight Eisenhower created the Interstate System. It designates nearly $600 billion to improve highways, transit, water quality and broadband over 10 years, and a record $47 billion for climate resilience.
But a second, larger bill — the $1.85 trillion social welfare and climate change legislation — is still in limbo. That, too, is a compromise: Democrats had originally proposed a $3.5 trillion package.
Logistics: A deal finally materialized on Friday when the Congressional Black Caucus proposed passing the infrastructure bill immediately and holding a separate vote on the social bill in mid-November.
Context: Biden cast the victory as critical to putting Americans to work and central to his strategy for competing with China. The deal came too late to help boost Democrats in recent elections, but it may be necessary to avoid an electoral disaster for the party in next year’s midterms.