Annual Report: Nepal 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Nepal 2013

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  • In August, the government banned women under the age of 30 from migrating for domestic work to Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates due to complaints of sexual and other physical abuse in those countries. The bans potentially increased risks to women now forced to seek work through informal routes. Two successive Labour Ministers were forced out of office by the Prime Minister for alleged corruption. Despite this, recruitment agencies remained above the law with few losing their licences for illegal practices.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Despite acceding to the UN Convention against Torture in 1991, Nepal had not defined torture as a crime under national law. In April, the Council of Ministers announced plans for a bill to criminalize torture, but this had not been completed by the time the Constituent Assembly was dissolved. In July, the UN Human Rights Committee reminded Nepal of its obligation to enact a law defining and criminalizing torture, and to repeal all laws granting impunity to alleged perpetrators of torture and enforced disappearance. Torture and other ill-treatment of men, women and children in police custody remained widespread. The UN Committee against Torture concluded in its annual report that torture in Nepal was habitual, widespread and deliberate, and was ultimately practised systematically.

Abuses in the Terai region

Lack of accountability for past violations and a long-standing culture of impunity meant that, although the activities of armed groups operating in the Terai region were reportedly on the decline, violations and abuses by the Nepal Armed Police Force, Nepal Police and armed groups continued to be reported. Abuses included arbitrary detention, torture and extrajudicial executions. High levels of insecurity and fear of reprisals represented a significant obstacle to access to justice for victims and human rights defenders in the region.

Discrimination

Discrimination on the basis of caste, ethnicity, religion, gender, economic situation and disability persisted. In October, Bhim Bahadur, a Dalit from Dailekh district, was reportedly hospitalized with serious injuries after he was attacked with a sickle for touching the main door of a house belonging to a member of a dominant caste. Dalit and poor women and girls from rural areas faced discrimination in accessing justice, education and health care.

Maternal health

Poverty, gender discrimination, malnutrition, lack of skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care, and workload during pregnancy and the postnatal period all contributed to Nepal's high incidence of uterine prolapse. An estimated 600,000 women in Nepal were suffering from the condition, of which 200,000 needed immediate surgery. The government organized surgical camps to treat uterine prolapse, but many women remained unaware of them. Nepal had not invested sufficiently in preventive interventions, alternatives to surgery or follow-up care. According to reports, 24,498 women underwent surgery for prolapse between 2008 and 2011; however, the health condition of these women was largely unknown.