Nepal’s slave girls

Can the young girls forced to work in middle class homes across the country break the bonds of slavery?

 Last Modified: 28 Sep 2013 14:34

Slavery is banned in Nepal. But hidden behind the walls of city homes, some still keep young girls as slaves called kamlaris.The girls are from the Tharu community, an indigenous group that was stripped of its land and forced into bonded labour after Nepal’s first social order was introduced 160 years ago. Tharus farm the land of their landlord and, in return, give back half of what they produce. Often, they trade away their daughters as well.

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In June 2013, kamlaris from all over the country protested in a bid to bring an end to slavery once and for all. They want to be free from servitude and have their basic rights guaranteed. The demonstrations were triggered by the mysterious death of Srijana, a 12-year-old kamlari girl who burnt to death in her owner’s house. The police alleged it was suicide but the kamlaris were not convinced.

The police retaliated against the demonstrators with violence. Political organisations and rights groups were conspicuously absent from their demonstrations. More

INDIA: A public hearing in Tamnar against the public

SUVOJIT BAGCHI

  • Women rallying at Tapranga village in Tamnar block in Raigarh against a public hearing to acquire a coal block by the JSPL. Photo: Suvojit Bagchi
    The HinduWomen rallying at Tapranga village in Tamnar block in Raigarh against a public hearing to acquire a coal block by the JSPL. Photo: Suvojit Bagchi

It is an exercise by State government to hand over 350 hectare of land to JSPL

Standing on the edge of a monstrous, black gorge, 72-year-old Kaniram, a Birhor tribal, stretched his left hand to point at the mud thatched house that he had in the hill slope. However, one could only see waves of unending charcoal coloured hills in the backdrop. The area — definitely not less than a few hundred square kilometres — looks grey but Kaniram found the whole thing funny. “We never thought there is so much coal under our house, but it was,” he smiled and added, “…wished there was less coal in the hills.” More

Indigenous peoples’ organizations demand amendments in Nepal’s election laws

23 September 2013

Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and other indigenous peoples’ organizations have demanded amendments in Nepal’s election laws to provide for organizational representation of indigenous peoples through their ethnic organizations in second Constituent Assembly elections of the country.

In a memorandum submitted to Election Commission on Sunday and copied to High Level Political Committee, Chairperson of the Interim Election Council of Ministers and chairpersons of all political parties, the organizations have made the following demands:
1. Fully proportional representation of indigenous nationalities based on population and at least one representative per indigenous group in the second CA elections should be ensured.
2. The State should recognize the recommendation of indigenous peoples’ organizations with regards to Constituent Assembly members as per the Supreme Court order of 21 April 2013.
3. As provided in Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, minimum 37 per cent of total number of members in second Constituent Assembly should be guaranteed from indigenous nationalities.
4. Manifestos of political parties should be published in indigenous languages understood by indigenous nationalities.
5. Effective implementation of International Labour Organization Convention 169 (C169) and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) should be guaranteed.
6. Indigenous communities not represented through direct elections and proportional representation system should be represented through recommendations of their representative and traditional institutions.
7. At least 37 per cent of candidates under direct and proportional seats for elections recommended from all geographies, departments and concerned agencies should be guaranteed from indigenous nationalities and same ratio should be ensured in acquired proportional seats.
8. The 20-point agreement signed between NEFIN and Government of Nepal on 7 August 2007 and following 9-point agreement signed with Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction on 22 May 2012 should be strictly adhered to.
9. As provided in Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, all 26 seats to be nominated by the Council of Ministers should be ensured for indigenous nationalities. More

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