Existing Legislation

In 1990, the new democratic constitution of the country guaranteed equal protection and non-discrimination to \all Nepalese citizens, and in 1991, Nepal became a signed member of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). However, despite the presence of this legislation, legal, political, economic and social gender discrimination continues in almost every aspect of life in Nepal.

New Legislation

Recently, women’s rights groups in Nepal successfully lobbied for the integration of International human rights instruments in to Nepal’s national law through the new Women’s Rights Bill (Eleventh Amendment to the Country Code or Muluki Ain). Repealing discriminatory laws against women, this Bill theoretically provides women greater rights in inheritance, divorce, abortion and adoption and increases punishments for perpetrators of rape, incest, paedophilia and child marriage. However, as in the case of CEDAW, people are unaware of this new law and it is not being enforced.

Pressing for implementation

As a result of widespread ignorance and failure to implement rights, Nepal is rated 119 on the Gender-related Development Index and women’s rights abuses and the effects of gender related discrimination continues to be well documented. Saathi is a key organisation pressing for the implementation of existing laws and the formation of new laws to protect women and children against violence and exploitation.

Fighting for women’s rights: