Nepali Women's Voice "We Want Lasting Peace"
Nepali Women's Voice "We Want Lasting Peace"
By Kamala Sarup
"My husband left me home to resume his duty three days before he was killed. I don't want any Nepali woman to face like I am facing. I cannot believe myself that he is no more now" says Naramaya Thapa, a 16-year-old who lost her husband in Dang Ghorahi. Twenty-two-year-old Thapa had joined the Nepal Police about 7 years ago as a constable. He was transferred to the District Police Office in Dang only three months ago.
Naramaya is not alone the Maoist conflict has left in its wake hundreds of young women homeless and displaced. The overwhelming majority of women victimized by Maoists are hovering between life and death, due to lack of timely financial support.
Januka Shrestha's husband, who was in the army, was killed in action in Acham. With no other source of income, she is solely dependent on the pension she receives from the army for the survival of herself and her four children. "My youngest daughter has not been able to understand that her father is dead. She is still holding on to the promise that she had made: to come back and buy her a nice clothes." said teary-eyed Shrestha.
Many women of various ages in Nepal express sympathy for these women. In Kathmandu, a woman says she believes that in times of crisis it is her duty to support these women "We have to be friendly and loving to them".
According to the findings of the study, women comprise at least 50 percent and more than 95 percent of Nepali women are effected by Maoists war. 80 percent of Nepalese women organization are working in Kathmandu.
Bimala Khadka, a 27 year old educated widow who lost her husband in Accham says" We want to be able to go to the market without being afraid to step on a land mine".Khadka was 20 years old when she came to Kathmandu after she lost her entire family and was nearly killed. Her uncle sent her to Kathmandu to avoid the violence that have become part of life in a large portion of rural Nepal.
Tara Khatri, was returning from the market when she sustained injuries in crossfire between security forces and rebel Maoists at village. Tara is one among thausends women in this district who have become victims of the Maoists violence, and many are suffering from mental disorders.
With the escalation of murders, bombings of the buildings, strikes and other forms of violence and disruptions, thousands of women and children like Pushpa are pouring into urban and semi-urban areas.
Many women have problems of depression and suppression. The indirect effect is much larger.
Today, with the destruction of school buildings, health posts, the women and children are badly affected. There are growing reports of an increase in the number of child Maoists soldiers. Thousands of women and children have lost their husbands, and parents.
Armed Maoists force the girls from grade six to 10 and their teachers to go with them. They are then made to undergo insurgency training by the rebels. Those forced to fight are generally poor, illiterate and from rural zones, while volunteers are usually motivated by a desire to escape poverty or lured by appeals to Maoist ideology.
Prativa KC, 14, said "One day I arrived home from school and found my father had been killed. I ran to Kathmandu" These are words of Suchitra Thapa.
Nepali women and children living on the streets due to war are "vulnerable". They are almost certain to have to sell sex to survive. They are homeless, forced to flee because of Maoists violence.
Another girl, Suresha 15, said " People including women were being killed in Dang. We were very scared. All of us fled. Many other women in Dang have had similar experiences".
Nepali schools have been turned into recruitment centres. The misuse of schools, their occupation and attacks on them are one of the worst violations of women and children's rights.
Niruta appeal to keep children out of war. She said " We cannot expect girls to grow up normally amid guns. We can see that thousands of women and children have been killed in Nepal. This figure will go up".She said.
Most girls recruits into Maoists are from poor families or from minority or indigenous groups. They are under threat from HIV/AIDS. Maoists war destroys the basic necessities of life: schools, health care, adequate shelter, water and food.
The exploitation of women and children in the ranks of the rebels must end.
International organizations must work hard to end the use of Nepali women and children, the killing and maiming of women and children, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and sexual violence against them.
In order to solve the issue of the growing insurgency and guarantee human rights to the women, all political parties, human right organizations, and government will have to forge a consensus and arrive at a conclusion on how this challenge to the security of the women can be met.
I am pleased that the Nepalese government is negotiating with the Maoists, so that the war will end. However, the Maoists want power, so no matter what government offers by way of compromise, it will never be enough to satisfy them.
Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup (M.A.in Journalism) is an editor of peacejournalism.com. Some of the main focus of the e-magazine has been on disarmament, conflict resolution, nonviolent sanctions, conflicts and crises. Its activities include training,research and supports peace, democracy and development in societies undergoing crisis and change. Kamala Sarup is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace Resolutions, Anti war, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, Development, Politics and HIV/AIDS. She wrote and published many articles, books and research papers.Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment(Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women for prostitution through media, (Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in Women & Girls - A Pre-Study for Media Activism. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication, philosophy, feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development. Kamala Sarup contributes regularly to World Security Network (WSN), Scoop Media, World press, Web Commentary, Bangladesh web.