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Sarmila Shrestha, Chairperson of JuRI Nepal and an advocate shares memorandum letter to the Home Minister with a demand to take immediate actions to effective investigation of rape and other sexual violence against women and children. Photo: JuRI Nepal

Civil Societies against rape and sexual violence

Published 10 May 2018

Nepal is seeing a surge in number of rape cases being reported this year. An average of three rape cases are reported every day in the country. The number of cases that goes unreported are even more. Weak policies and lack of access to justice denies justice to victims and encourages culprits. Sarmila Shrestha, Chairperson of JuRI Nepal and an advocate shares, “It is extremely difficult for a victim to come out and file a complaint due to social stigma. They risk their reputation as our patriarchal society will first point their fingers on the victims. Even after making a complaint they aren’t sure whether they will get justice. The unfriendly environment of our complain mechanism and justice system can be intimidating.”

IM’s partner JuRI Nepal along with many other civil society members submitted a memorandum letter to put pressure on government and law enforcement agencies with a demand to take immediate actions to effective investigation of rape and other sexual violence against women and children. The letter was presented to the Home Minister, Chief of National Human Rights Commission, and Chief of Nepal Police. Sarmila shared, “The intention was to put pressure at all levels. Policy makers, implementers and watchdog need to be proactive to eradicate this social problem.” JuRI Nepal led other civil society members such as Nepal Bar Association, media houses and human rights workers to jointly submit the memorandum letter. The letter submitted to Home Ministry presented six specific demands that could be immediately implemented by the Ministry to curb sexual crimes which are as follows:

1. Effective mobilization of police force in ensuring investigation and justice to the victim.
2. Amend the provision of current law related to limitation to report rape cases. At least in case of child victims, don’t limit the time.
3. Investigate police officials who obstructs victim’s access to justice.
4. Dispatch a circular in all police offices with direction to facilitate the process of making complaint, filing report and provide protection to the victim.
5. Amend law to define actions of not taking complaint and not following investigation duties as criminal acts.
6. Collaborate with civil society, media, National Human Rights Commission, National women’s commission, schools and universities, and local government to fight against Gender-based violence and sex crimes and conduct nationwide campaigns.

As Nepal Government is preoccupied with the transitioning process from central to federal government structure, it is the duty of civil society to sensitize government officials and put pressure on them to tackle with social evils such as gender-based violence and sex crimes. IM in Nepal works with JuRI Nepal to advocate for and protect Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of people.