Nepal: Two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights human rights activists murdered after government fails to protect them from violent attacks

Two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights activists in Nepal have now been murdered since the new government came to power, said Amnesty International today (10 April), with no significant attempts made to investigate or prosecute the crimes. The most recent case was that of Uma Singh, a journalist for Radio Today FM who was a member of the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's Human Rights Defender Network. She was attacked on 11 January 2009 by a group of men armed with sharp weapons. She was severely mutilated and died on her way to hospital in Kathmandu.

The attack follows the June 2008 killing of Laxmi Bohara from Kanchanpur, who was severely beaten and then reportedly murdered by her husband and mother-in-law who were not happy with her working to defend human rights.

The Maoist Government of Nepal has failed to deliver on its promises to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, said Amnesty International. One year on from their election to power, evidence of this failure can be found in the treatment of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights activists campaigning for human rights who are the victims of beatings, sexual attacks and murder, with no significant effort made to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Amnesty International has found that, in spite of the government’s election promises, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights human rights activists remain at risk of attack because they dare to challenge Nepal’s patriarchal divisions. Many have become social outcasts for raising the issues of domestic and sexual violence and are targets of intimidation, beatings and even death. The Nepalese police often refuse to file a complaint or to fully investigate attacks and offer no protection.

Madhu Malhotra, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, said:

“When the Maoist Government came to power it made commitments to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights but these now seem like false promises.

“Now that they are in government, all the revolutionary rhetoric has not resulted in real improvements in Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s lives.”

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights activists play a crucial role in Nepal, where many Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are unaware of their rights and are afraid of confronting social and government authority.

“Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights activists are singled out for violent attacks as it further promotes a culture of silence and discourages Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights experiencing violence to speak out.”

Amnesty International is calling on the Nepali Government to take urgent action to:

- Ensure the safety and protection of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights human rights activists, particularly in rural areas;
- Develop a national plan of action, including the establishment of safe shelters/homes and other facilities for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights survivors of violence;
- Take all possible measure to ensure justice, truth and reparations for crimes of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights committed during and after the conflict.

Background
Following an extended protest by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights human rights campaigners in July 2008, initiated after the alleged murder of a female activist and subsequent failure of police to properly investigate the crime, the government established a task force to make recommendations regarding violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. The task force has yet to submit its report, which was promised within two months.

In rural settings, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights human rights activists often work in remote locations with minimal communication facilities and support mechanisms. These Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights challenge discriminatory cultural practices, such as early child marriage and boxsi (witchcraft) but can face restrictions and have been attacked by members of the community for their work, as has been documented in Eastern Terai, southern Nepal.

The state’s duty to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from violence is explicitly stated in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, which Nepal has ratified.

An Amnesty International mission visited Nepal in November 2008 and spoke to a wide range of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights activists. Hindus, Muslims, Janajatis and other marginalised groups as well as LGBTI activists, all shared stories of the challenges they face. A Dalit woman human rights activist for example, faces multiple abuses as a result of caste-based violence, in addition to gender and class abuses.

Amnesty International activists will be holding a demonstration to highlight the plight of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights human rights activists, in Narayanghat, Nepal on 10 April.

Rameshwar Nepal, Director of Amnesty International Nepal is available for interview.

ENDS
To request an interview please contact Rameshwar on:
+977 9741 183941 or +977 98 4121 2892

Alternatively contact Steve Ballinger or Niall Couper at Amnesty International UK's press office in London on: +44 (0)20 7033 1548 or +44 7721 398984

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