PRESS RELEASE issued jointly by the Nepal Dalit National Social Welfare Organisation (NNDSWO), Dalit NGO Federation (DNF), The Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO) and the Jagaran Media Center (JMC) on behalf of the Dalit Civil Society Organisations Coalition and by the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN).
UN Nepal UPR Review calls for effective implementation of Caste-Based Discrimination law
(Geneva, November 5, 2015) – Seventeen United Nations member states raised their concerns and recommendations on caste discrimination at the United Nations Periodic Review of Nepal, urging the Government, in particular, to ensure effective implementation of the Caste-Based Discrimination and Untouchability Act of 2011.
Member states noted the weak implementation of the law, poor case investigation, and continued widespread caste discrimination, urging the Government in particular to ensure effective implementation of the Caste-Based Discrimination and Untouchability Act of 2011. They recommended that Nepal sets in place effective measures and a concrete strategy to implement the law on caste-based discrimination.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamal Thapa pointed to the “zero tolerance against discrimination” guaranteed with the newly adopted Constitution (adopted on 20 September 2015). He underlined that all forms of discrimination based on caste, religion and gender are punishable by law. He recognized that these social practices continue, but emphasized that with strong legislation and infrastructure in place he believed “the social evil will come to an end”.
Members states also raised concern over the continued widespread practices of caste discrimination and called on Nepal to strengthen its efforts and effectively implement existing laws and policies aimed at ending and preventing all forms of discrimination, in particular against women and Dalits, and to take concrete steps to translate anti-discrimination efforts into concrete practice on the ground.
The situation of violence against women in Nepal, concern at the level of trafficking in persons especially Dalit women and girls, and the numerous reports of caste-based violence and discrimination call for specific action member states said. States commended the government for promulgation of the Constitution and also urged the adoption of public policies to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including against Dalits, women, indigenous peoples and minorities. States raised particular concerns of equal access to education for Dalits and reports on discrimination of Dalits in the relief and rehabilitation after the earthquake prompted recommendations on ensuring non-discriminatory access in relief efforts.
In its response to the recommendations, the Government noted that Dalit access to justice is a priority and referred to the development of an integrated action plan.
Commenting on the review, Bhakta Bishwakarma, National President of Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization (NNDSWO) said, “We acknowledge that the Government has taken strides over the past years to ensure Dalit rights through legislative measures. However, we are demanding a national action plan to eliminate caste discrimination and an effective coordinating mechanism to oversee its implementation. There is also a need for state led public campaigns and institutional reform, as we have noted with deep concern that the state is yet to fulfil its strong commitment for inclusive and non-discriminatory institutions.”
The Government of Nepal is due to respond to the UPR recommendations on 6 November.
Rem Bahadur B.K., President, Jagaran Media Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, +977 9851086809
Bhakta Bishwakarma, National President, Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization (NNDSWO), email@example.com +977-9851084469
Rikke Nöhrlind, Executive Director, International Dalit Solidarity Network, firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel. +45 29700630
Human Rights Situation of the Dalit Community in Nepal, Dalit Civil Society Organisations Coalition and IDSN Joint UPR Submission Nepal November 2015
For an overview of the most essential recommendations see also: Key recommendations for the Universal Periodic Review of Nepal, 23rd UPR Session, 4 November 2015.