Tag Archives: Nepal

Differentiation, Development, (Dis)Integration: education in Nepal’s ‘People’s War’

 An excellent article by ROBIN SHIELDS, (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) and JEREMY RAPPLEYE, (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

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A violent conflict between Maoist insurgents and the national government has engulfed Nepal for most of the last decade, a situation that has been complicated by deep-seated instability at the highest levels of the government itself. Even with the declaration of a ceasefire in 2006, violence endures in pockets of lawless banditry and unrest at the hands of separatist groups. During the conflict, education and schools played a central role, with issues such as the neglect of rural schools, the right to mother tongue education, and the expansion of private schooling figuring prominently in the Maoists’ list of grievances. Both sides used intimidation and violence to gain support from rural schools, which acted as one of the lone advocates of community interests during the upheaval. This article argues that throughout the conflict formal education in Nepal has simultaneously presented many faces: on one hand it contributed to the conflict by reinforcing social inequalities while on the other it mitigated the effects of the conflict by maintaining social cohesion and mediating between opposing sides. In other cases it seemingly did both at once: acting as an egalitarian force by expanding basic education and literacy at an astounding rate while simultaneously excluding certain groups from sharing the benefits of the country’s development. Building upon the work of Bush & Salterelli, the article shows that in the case of Nepal education presents not two but many faces that are highly contextual and remain relevant in the post-conflict environment.

 ROBIN SHIELDS, JEREMY RAPPLEYE (2008) Differentiation, Development, (Dis)Integration: education in Nepal’s ‘People’s War’, Research in Comparative and International Education, 3(1), pp. 91-102 http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2008.3.1.91 

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Filed under Asia, education, Nepal, Poverty, South Asia

SOUTH ASIA: Caste-based discrimination and analogous forms of inherited social exclusion: Discrimination based on work and descent

February 22, 2008

A joint written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Catholic Organization for Relief and Development (CORDAID), Minority Rights Group (MRG), Diakonisches Werk der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland, Anti-Slavery International, and International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) to the 7th session of the Human Rights Council
SOUTH ASIA: Caste-based discrimination and analogous forms of inherited social exclusion: Discrimination based on work and descent (1)
The former Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 2005/109, gave a mandate to the former Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to undertake a study on discrimination based on work and descent, and to develop draft principles and guidelines for the elimination of this form of discrimination. This was the first occasion on which the UN’s leading human rights body sought to address comprehensively the entrenched form of discrimination that affects, among others, the Dalits of South Asia, estimated to number more than 200 million people.
Three years later, the Sub-Commission experts entrusted with this mandate, Professor Yozo Yokota and Professor Chin-Sung Chung, have completed their task and sought to deliver a final report which includes the draft principles and guidelines widely anticipated by organizations representing affected communities around the world. However, with the abolition of the Sub-Commission, their painstaking work lacks a forum for its consideration and finalization, and has become caught in a transitional limbo. This situation points to a lacuna in the institution-building process in the Human Rights Council – the lack of clear transitional arrangements for the pending work of the Sub-Commission.
One of the key criteria for judging the success of the reform of the UN’s human rights architecture must surely be that the achievements of the Commission on Human Rights in promoting and protecting the human rights of the victims of violations around the world should at least not be undermined or neglected. But here is a clear case in which an entrenched system of discrimination which has led and continues to lead to some of the most egregious violations of the rights and freedoms of a significant proportion of humanity – and which the international human rights system has for far too long failed to propose a systemic response – risks being overlooked again.
Accordingly, the co-sponsors of this statement urge the creation of an appropriate procedure for the consideration and adoption of the final report submitted by Professors Yokota and Chung regarding discrimination based on work and descent, and for appropriate action on the draft principles and guidelines included in that report.
Making caste-based discrimination a priority on the agenda of the Human Rights Council as a serious contemporary human rights issue in Asia and the other parts of the world in which affected communities are found is an essential step for the realization of human rights for millions upon millions of the Earth’s most vulnerable and marginalized people. We are somewhat encouraged that the focus areas for the Asia-Pacific region outlined in the OHCHR’s Strategic Management Plan 2008-2009 are impunity, weak institutions and discrimination, all of which are key factors in contributing to the systematic discrimination against Dalits. More specifically, caste-based discrimination is mentioned as a specific human rights concern to be included in the OHCHR’s field of work in the next biennium.
The continuing salience of caste-based discrimination is well-attested to by a growing chorus of concluding observations and recommendations issued by multiple treaty bodies concerning affected countries, as well as by material submitted for the forthcoming examinations of several affected countries under the UPR mechanism.
The Human Rights Council has, appropriately, a special focus on implementation, and on improving the situation of the victims of human rights violations on the ground. The draft principles and guidelines developed by Professors Yokota and Chung can be a very important tool for fulfilling this responsibility to the more than 200 million people who still continue to struggle under crushing yoke of caste-based discrimination and analogous forms of inherited social exclusion. We call upon the Human Rights Council to take up this tool, and use it.
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Footnote:
(1) Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law; Dalit Network Netherlands; Dalit Solidarity Network, United Kingdom; and Justice and Peace Netherlands also share the views expressed in this statement.
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About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.

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NEPAL: Girls sold by parents for domestic labor

Source: IRIN

“There are over 20,000 indentured domestic workers in Nepal. The ‘Kamlari’ system originated nearly 50 years ago when poor families provided daughters as domestic servants in exchange for cash. The practice is still prevalent and most of the girls are brought to households in Nepal’s cities and towns where employers include politicians, bureaucrats, teachers, etc.

Besides the labor exploitation, the girls also suffer from sexual abuse, rape, physical torture, starvation and neglect of education, and there are also many cases of the girls being trafficked for prostitution both in Nepal and to India.”

Full story: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=76543

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World’s warehouse for illegal organs

Source: Hindustan Times

“Illegal organ trafficking accounts for as much as 10 percent of all transplants worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In the last two decades, Asia had made up a large share of this flourishing black market. Promising quick, easy and cheap procurement of life-saving organs to foreigners who see it as their last hope, the region witnesses billions of dollars changing hands every month among iniquitous brokers, desperate patients, poverty-stricken donors and dishonest doctors.

In fact, 90 percent of the donors in the region come from below the poverty line and 90 percent of these donors agree to donate only to ease their financial troubles. Until 2006, China was the top host country for transplants. However, recently tightened regulations may change this. In the absence of less developed medical facilities and the presence of a porous Indo-Nepal border, many Nepalese people come to India to score a better deal for their kidney or liver.”

Full story here

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AIDS killing more Nepalese women

Nepal has just started recovering from the devastation of a civil conflict which in the past decade killed nearly 13,600 lives. The other big conflict that now occupies the mind of the donor community helping Nepal at large is AIDS which is expected to take away 15,000 Nepali lives each year for the next decade, which in ratio roughly comes to an alarming 11 people dying for every person killed in the civil conflict. According to the UNDP website You and AIDS, Nepal hardly has the resources to fight the disease. International aid agencies such as USAID which have contributed tremendously to the efforts of the Nepal Government since 1993, sometimes feel the resource crunch even though American funding has been generous amounting to roughly US $ 20 million a year to the poor Himalayan Kingdom. The sad part of the story is that the larger percentage of deaths in future is going to be Nepali women, who account for nearly 60% of Nepal´s labour force in the agricultural sector.In South Asia, Nepal certainly tops in the number of returning commercial female sex workers infected with AIDS in 2008. Of nearly 45% of 100,000 back from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore Madras, various Nepali INGOs have estimated that 30% have already died, about half are married to Nepali husbands, and the remaining are working in the Kathmandu and city concentric commercial sex business in the form of massage parlours, cabin restaurants, lodges, hotels, dance restaurants, bhattis (drinking spots) and road side restaurants on highways. The total number of Nepali commercial sex workers, all of them female, is nearly 250,000 in India´s major cities. Commercial sex is easily available in Nepal, in a country which has a shortage of condoms. In the rest of South Asia too, the growing and continuing challenge of defeating AIDS has become more concentrated in women where increasing rates of infection have shown more women innocently succumbing to infections due to a lack of effective strategic and behavioral change communications interventions, weak national HIV/AIDS prevention and control strategies, porous commitment among donors and inability to concentrate on the problem as a sectoral priority which needs to be tackled with financial and AIDS prevention knowledge bank resources.

For full text click the author’s name above.

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Filed under Aid, AIDS, Health, Nepal, Women