KATHMANDU, Nov 30: Visiting UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Dubravka Simonovic, said the rape and murder of 13-year old Nirmala Panta is a test case for the Nepal government.
Addressing a news conference before wrapping up her 10-day visit to Nepal on Thursday, Special Rapporteur Simonovic said she will closely follow any development in this case in the hope that it will be effectively resolved in line with the human rights standards, as adopted by Nepal. The remark of the UN Special Rapporteur comes amid failure by the government to nab those behind the rape and subsequent murder of the teenage schoolgirl even after several months have already passed by.
Referring to inordinate delay in providing justice to victims of sexual violence during the Maoist conflict, Special Rapporteurs Simonovic also urged bringing an amendment in the transitional justice legislation so that victims of torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, are entitled to claim compensation. She asked the government to provide interim relief measures to such women victims.
“The women and girls who suffered sexual violence and torture during the conflict have waited too long for justice. Now is the time for the government to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring that these women and girls attain justice and that their cases are investigated in gender-friendly manner while guaranteeing protection for victims,” she said,
Sharing her preliminary observation and recommendations to curb growing instances of violence against women in Nepal, the Special Rapporteur stressed the need to implement the laws that are already in place and introduce a series of new measures such as ensuring access to justice to women, empowering the National Women's Commission, eliminating harmful practices relating to gender-based discrimination, and introducing a comprehensive national action plan on gender-based violence against women, to curb instances of violence against women.
Ensuring shelter and access to essential services to women including safety planning, counseling, protection orders and strengthening the investigative capacity of the Human Trafficking and Transportation Control Bureau within the police are also among the recommendations she has made .
She is scheduled to present a full report of her observations and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in June 2019.
In September last year, Nepal invited the Special Rapporteur on Right to Food and Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences for a country visit. Nepal also reiterated an invitation, which was extended in 2014 and later reiterated in July this year, to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants, in order to demonstrate its commitment toward human rights.