Sunday, 19 September, 2021

‘Regional solidarity essential to build lasting peace’


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Aug. 6: Activists, academicians and policy makers of South Asian countries have highlighted the need for regional solidarity to accelerate the implementation of the Security Council Resolution on women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in those countries.
Speaking at the South Asian Conference titled “Solidarity for advancing Women Peace and Security Agenda”, jointly hosted by Parliamentary Support Project/UNDP and Media Advocacy Group (MAG) here on Thursday, they shared that a regional solidarity and cross-learning is a must for building sustainable peace.

South Asia, being identified as one of the most conflict-stricken regions of the world, also serves as one of the biggest learning platforms for conflict resolution, they added.
Nepal is one of the state parties to UNSCR 1325 and 1820, both of which chart out a clear pledge and call for action to protect and provide security to women and children from the potential risks of the armed conflict.
Speaking at the event, Bandana Rana, member of CEDAW Committee, said only three South Asian countries, including Nepal, have adopted the National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 because many countries think they don’t require NAP because there was no armed conflict.
“But UNSCR 1325 goes beyond the need of having a national action plan in the conflict-hit countries. It’s about participation, preventing violence, protecting women and girls from violence and all intra-state conflict that are emerging,” said Rana.

She also stressed on the need of creating a stronger alliance to highlight the need of NAP in the region. Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal, member of National Assembly, said, “No political movement and social transformation can take place without women’s active participation and engagement.”

However, when the negotiations and issues of transitional justice were headed and when power sharing happens, women were often neglected. So this is the major problem, she added. According to her, this exclusion not just widens gender inequality, but also makes negotiation incomplete. The whole peace process remains ineffective and uncertain.
This is the reason why the country fails at delivering justice to women despite having good legislatives, NAP and two transitional justice bodies, said Dr. Poudyal.

Advocate Sabin Shrestha said Nepal is the first country in South Asia to adopt a NAP on UNSCR 1325 and 1820, which was implemented between 2011 to 2016.
“We have drafted a second NAP which was already approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the second NAP is under consideration at the parliament due to the ongoing pandemic,” he said.
Shrestha also shed lights on the legal barriers while ensuring right to an effective remedy to the victims of sexual violence of Nepal’s decade-long armed conflict, which came to a close with a peace accord in 2006.
He denounced the hurdles victims faced in seeking justice due to current statute of limitation to register complaints of sexual violence. Resident Representative of UNDP Ayeshanie Labe said the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us that conflict had very different faces.

Labe said, “It is a health conflict right now and also an economic, social and environmental conflict. We must consider multiple dimensions while talking about the conflict, women, and peace and security agendas.”
“It is time we need to look after the way we define conflict, peace and security. In the last 18 months, more women are in violence, living in fear, losing trust and have lost their loved ones, their job. Many girls are now living at home, which will lead them to early marriage,” she added.
At the event, activists across the South Asian countries also admired Nepal for being the first country in the group to adopt the National Action Plan for effective implementation and presented Nepal as an inspiration for the region.
Speaking at the event, Samira Hamidi, an Afghani activist, asked South Asian women to speak in favour of Afghani women in safeguarding the achievements they made in the last 20 years.