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Women Human Rights Defenders

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Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) are the people who are bringing the cases of violence against women in public. They are the activists who are supporting victims of violence risking their own lives. WOREC Nepal has managed to create a common platform for women working in different issues of human rights to come together and advocate for their rights and security. This platform is recognized as Women Human Rights Defenders Campaign that has been ongoing since 2005. 

Historically, Women Human Rights Defenders in Nepal have been the victims of marginalization and harassment by the state or non-state actors including their own male colleagues. Although sharing equal responsibility of work, WHRDs face more risk compared to their male colleagues, and, in addition, do not receive credit on the work they do. Lack of recognition of WHRDs has placed in the larger strategic play of the patriarchal society to suppress women and to confine them in the private sphere. The pervasive male dominance in every form and shape has reinforced the notion that women belong to the private sphere. This has had serious impact on women’s ability to actively participate in the socio-economic and political processes. The democratization process is difficult to take the right course if there is systematic exclusion of women based on religious and traditional cultural practices. Hence, WOREC believes that encouragement of WHRD through the recognition of their work will be one step closer to inclusive democracy. The campaign therefore focuses on capacity building of WHRDs, dissemination of information on rights and education materials, documentation in giving visibility to the violence against Women Human Rights Defenders, advocacy on legal recognition of Women Human Rights Defenders with changes at grassroots and national level, support mechanisms and networking.

WOREC's commitments

  • To form nationwide networks of women human rights defenders and strengthen relationships between WHRDs and Women’s Organizations working in different sectors.
  • To lobby the government for effective mechanisms for the security, support mechanisms and protection of WHRDs.
  • To document cases of violence against WHRDs and develop a relevant database. 
  • To facilitate capacity building of WHRDs at the community level.

Major achievements

  • The nationwide movement of the WHRDs has made them visible in the district, national and international levels.
  • Expansion of WHRD networks all over Nepal has been one of the Major achievements; and there is a strong networking and commitment among members to strengthen the network. 
  • Issues forwarded by the WHRD network are taken by the stakeholders seriously. 
  • WHRD district networks have been able to organize collective actions at district level on the issues of WHRDs. Collective actions of WHRDs during the Uma Singh’s murder, Nirmala Thapa’s murder, gang rape case of police Suntali Dhami by her own colleagues have proved them as actors of change and have created pressure on the government to protect and promote human rights.
  • As per writpetition filed by WOREC, the Supreme Court released order to the GoN to enact law to protect WHRDs and against the crime like acid burning. 
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