For the first time, issue of LBTI gets entry in CEDAW

Kathmandu (Pahichan) October 24 – Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa and the leader of Nepali delegation to the 71st Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) for consideration of Nepal’s Sixth Periodic Report made a statement at the Committee today, 23 October 2018.

On the occasion, Minister presented updates and highlights on the step taken by the Government of Nepal towards protecting and promoting the rights of women, ending discrimination against women and carrying out effective measures for their empowerment.

In her statement, Minister stated that the Constitution of Nepal promulgated in 2015 culminates in the conclusion of the peace process.  The Constitution has incorporated progressive provisions for empowerment of women while broadening the scope of fundamental rights, ensuring social justice and institutionalizing the socio-economic transformation of the country.

She also informed the Committee that sixteen laws have already been enacted to give effect to the provisions of fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the constitution.

Dalia Leinarte, Chair of the CEDAW Committee, moderated the session over the course of Nepal’s presentation. During the dialogue, Ambassador/Permanent Representative Deepak Dhital highlighted initiatives taken by the Government of Nepal for ensuring equality and non-discrimination, social and economic empowerment and improvement of the status of women in an inclusive manner. The Ambassador also expressed the view that the Government of Nepal is taking the process of review and revision of the existing laws as well as developing new legal frameworks  in the context of the federal governance set-up.

A broad  array of issues in the domestication and implementation of CEDAW in Nepal, with achievements, gaps and challenges as well as potential new initiatives in this direction were discussed today.

These included definition of discrimination, the status and level of participation of women in political and public life, implementation of special measures to promote women’s rights, elimination of gender stereotypes, access to justice, overall status of women in education, health, employment, as well as the situation of rural women and poverty, among others.

Members of the Nepali delegation, Joint Secretary  Radhika Aryal from the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizen, and Joint Secretary Phanindra Gautam from Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs contributed to the interactive discussions on the steps taken by Government of Nepal on various legal and programs.

Members of the CEDAW Committee posed questions and comments to the Nepali delegation regarding Nepal’s report and presentations before the committee.

In her concluding remarks, at the end of the interactive dialogue, Minister Tham Maya Thapa appreciated the opportunity of constructive dialogue with the CEDAW Committee and thanked them for their positive and insightful dialogue which would help further strengthen Nepal’s efforts towards promotions and protection of rights of women.

This is the first time that the issues of LBTI have got entry in the meeting. LBTI Rights activist Durga Thapa, for the first time, spoke about issues LBTI.

She said, “Though constitution has mentioned about sexual and gender minority, LBTI has not been defined in the constitution and it has not been mentioned anywhere,” Thapa said.

According to her, such provision has prevented this community to get access in policy making level. She was of the view that members of this community should get the right of family.

“Members of this community must get the rights of marriage, property, adopt children among others,” Thapa said. She also said that members of this community are denied from employment opportunity.