Since 1996, the political violent conflict between the Maoists and the government has been escalating, a conflict which has had increasingly serious repercussions for all communities, particularly women. In December of 2002, WOREC carried out a fact-finding mission to collect information and document the cases of human rights violations of women in areas affected by the Maoist armed conflict in order to document the general situation of human rights violations within the country. Based on the field experience of WOREC staff, six districts were identified as areas which have been greatly affected by the political violence, including Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Rolpa, Salyan and Udayapur. A total of twenty researchers were divided into six monitoring groups, comprised of either two or three members. The monitoring teams focused all of their attention on the collection of first-hand information though some information was also received from security forces as well as the Maoists. Despite the dangerous situation which impeded the mission’s progress, as well as the difficulty in convincing village people that the monitoring team could be trusted, 142 cases of human rights violations concerning women’s rights were collected, cases which provide telling information into the mental, physical and emotional impacts of the conflict situation on women’s health, rights and empowerment.
The study found that there are extensive examples of individuals and families being terrorized, tortured and threatened, and that human rights violations are rampant. Because women are being made the object of revenge, they have become the targets of rape as well as sexual harassment. Activities of illegal arrest and kidnapping by both sides involved in the conflict have been dramatically increasing and it was security forces who were found to be involved in a far greater number of human rights violations than those of the insurgent group. Trust within communities is weakening daily as individuals do not feel able to rely or depend on anyone, and social and physical security is almost nonexistent. Thus the impacts are extensive and wide-ranging and include emotional and psychological impacts as well as physical impacts. It is a vital area that requires further research.
For more information about the fact-finding mission, contact WOREC at firstname.lastname@example.org.