MYAGDI, July 21
Men raised the issue of women rights and their equality for citizenship whereas women reciprocated demanding provisions to end “economic violence” of men. A constructive feedback on gender equality stole the show when CA members reached to collect public feedback on the first draft of the constitution in Myagdi.
District Secretary of Nepali Congress Madhav Regmi suggested to lawmakers to ensure equal rights for women in citizenship. For one to be eligible to acquire naturalized citizenship, the new constitution requires both parents to be Nepali citizens. Regmi suggested that such citizenship should be provided even if either of the parent is a Nepali citizen. He warned that inability to do so would create problem for many children in future.
“This is my personal suggestion as a Nepali citizen rather than a political party leader,” Regmi said adding “The interim constitution was more progressive in terms of empowering women. It sought either of the parents to be Nepali citizen for providing a person to acquire citizenship, unlike the proposed one.”
Shom Bahadur Bishwokarma, a primary school teacher and a human rights activist, suggested for increasing the capacity of the National Women Commission (NWC). He opined that NWC should be given full authority to take action on the cases of violence against women (VAW).
“Limiting NWC’s ability to only providing recommendations on VAW cases has been leading to delays in ensuring security and rehabilitation of victim women,” he said while also seconding Regmi’s view on the citizenship.
Generally, male are seen dominating the venues where suggestion for the draft are being collected. The scenario was different in Myadgi, where active participation of women remained overwhelming. They expressed their opinions on issues that concerned them openly.
Malati Khatri, a local journalist suggested that the new constitution should guarantee joint rights in the property of husband and wife considering the alarmingly increasing cases of economic violence against migrant men workers.
“Cases of migrant men worker becoming victim of infidel wife has affected them mentally and economically. As the wife takes away all the earning while eloping away with her new found love, migrant husband workers are exploited emotionally and economically,” she mentioned. Myagdi is one of the most remittance receiving districts in Nepal.
Women Development Officer of the district, Nirmala Sharma claimed that provisions related to reproductive rights of women lacked clarity in terms of empowering women to decide for themselves whether or not to bear children.
Speakers raised concerns for families whose family member is a victim of a crime. Anusha Lama, a local, said that the new constitution should guarantee employment to at least one family member whose has been a victim of a crime. She said that such act would help in rehabilitating the victim’s family and would increase citizen’s faith in the rule of law.
Lama’s husband was murdered in Beni few years ago. With the murder of the sole bread winner of the family, Lama said her family was thrown into the misery of poverty, depriving it of a good health, good education and of a good future. “Punishment to guilty is only half justice to the victim’s family. Full sense of receiving justice can be felt only when such families are provided with means to be economically independent, as well,” she opined suggesting the CA members to include such provisions in the new constitution.
Responding to the feedback, lawmaker Navaraj Sharma promised to present all the feedbacks to the CA along with working towards institutionalizing common agenda of the Myagdi residents. Lawmakers Nardevi Pun and Resham Bahadur Baniya also participated in the two-day feedback collection program and interacted with participants.
Published-21 Jul 2015