PBI-Switzerland calls on Nepal to guarantee the security of women human rights defenders
On June 28, Peace Brigades International-Switzerland Advocacy Coordinator Kim-Mai Vu spoke at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Kim-Mai made an intervention on behalf of PBI during the interactive dialogue following a report made by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Dubravka Šimonović on her November 2018 fact-finding mission to Nepal.
On November 29, 2018, Šimonović stated, “The limited capacity to guarantee full and effective investigation of cases does little to discourage perpetrators and remains a serious problem in preventing cases of violence against women in Nepal.”
She highlighted, “This must be addressed as a matter of priority.”
At last week’s session, Kim-Mai stated, “The Government of Nepal needs to take all necessary measures to guarantee the security of women human rights defenders that challenge the culture of impunity.”
She then noted, “It is also crucial that all the persons directly or indirectly involved in the Nirmala Panta case including judicial officials, professionals and witnesses be protected.”
Nirmala Panta was a 13-year-old schoolgirl who was raped and murdered on July 26, 2018 in Kanchanpur District, Nepal.
On June 26 of this year, The Himalayan Times reported, “Her rape and murder agitated the entire nation, and right activists and general people organised a series of protests to exert pressure on the government to arrest and initiate action against the culprit(s) to deliver justice to Nirmala and her grieving family.”
That article adds, “Responding to a query by lawmakers in the House of Representative [on June 25, Home Minister Ram Bahadur] Thapa said that the government was still searching for the perpetrator(s).”
The Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP) has worked closely with Nirmala’s family to seek justice for their daughter.
The organization has facilitated a visit by Nirmala’s parents to Kathmandu in an effort to move the investigation of their daughter’s death forward.
COCAP Chair Badri Sigdel has stated in the media, “It is the government’s duty to protect them and provide accommodation facility. But if the government is not willing to support the family, we definitely will.”
COCAP is a Kathmandu-based national network of 43 peace and human rights non-governmental organizations. Peace Brigades International supports NepalMonitor.org, a COCAP protection and conflict prevention initiative.
The Peace Brigades International 2018 Annual Review notes, “Two international and five Nepali staff members based in Kathmandu coordinated the Nepal Monitor, an initiative established to provide protection and to prevent conflict by mapping security incidents and human rights violations in the country.”
Kim-Mai’s intervention can be seen in this video at the 01:47:14 mark.