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

NEPAL: Indigenous Nationalities’ Comprehensive Conference concludes with a 12-point declaration

2 May 2012

A three-day conference of indigenous nationalities held from 29 April in the city of Pokhara in western ‘Tamuwan’ region concluded yesterday issuing a 12-point ‘Tamuwan’ declaration.

The Declaration calls for protecting the contributions to and the achievements of the indigenous nationalities’ movement in establishing the federal democratic republic in the country and for ensuring autonomy of the indigenous nationalities with the right to self determination coupled with the restructuring of the Nepali state while internalizing the basic identity and collective co-existence of the indigenous peoples.

The Declaration also strongly calls on the state and the major political parties to incorporate and recognize of Tamuwan province based on ethnic identity in the new constitution to be formulated by May 27. It also warns of an organised revolt if the federal units are formed on non-ethnic lines. More

NEPAL: Federalists on paper

Mar 21st 2012, 11:51 by T.B. | KATHMANDU

FOUR years ago Nepal elected a Constituent Assembly (CA) with a two-year mandate to write a new democratic constitution and draw a line under a decade of Maoist rebellion. After repeated delays and term extensions, undignified politicking and public derision, the process is at last running out of road. All the signs are that it will end in a nasty crash this summer.

The critical issue is the sort of federal autonomy demanded by historically marginalised ethnic groups. Their grievances helped fuel the insurgency and are now creating an increasingly stark polarisation between what are characterised as “the dominant group” and “the oppressed”. Familiar terms, these, but the battle-lines are new. Whereas the Maoists stressed class oppression, nowadays the talk is of ethnicity. More

NEPAL: The final countdown in Nepal

March 6, 2012

PRASHANT JHA

Political parties have less than three months to resolve three issues — integration of Maoist combatants, form of government, federalism — that will shape state structure for years to come.

Five years after a peace accord marked the end of a decade long civil war, Nepal’s political transformation has entered its final phase.

On May 27, 2012, the term of the Constituent Assembly — extended four times beyond its original two-year term — will expire. And this time, politicians will not find it easy to give the CA another lease of life due to a judicial stricture. The Supreme Court (SC) has declared that the current extension is final, and if the constitution is not promulgated, there should be another election or referendum. There is also rising popular pressure to wrap up the prolonged transition, which has been accompanied by abysmal service delivery.

That gives the political forces less than three months to wrap up the peace process and write a constitution. Together, this will shape the nature of Nepal’s political institutions and security apparatus. More

BANGLADESH: Delay in CHT Development Work – International agencies blamed

Monday, March 5, 2012

Staff Correspondent

Many international agencies often complicate matters further trying to address the Chittagong Hill Tracts issues, Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the prime minister, said yesterday.

These complications delay development works in the hilly areas, he observed adding that the international organisations and those working on the CHT issues should focus more on how to implement the peace accord.

Gowher was speaking at a discussion titled “Implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord and the government’s election pledge: achievement and scope”. The programme was jointly organised by Kapeng Foundation and the Association of Land Reform and Development at Cirdap auditorium in the capital. More

Philippines: Bangsamoro, Indigenous Peoples Of Mindanao To Re-Affirm Kinship Relations

Apipa P. Bagumbaran, 2012

A ritual to re-affirm the kinship between the Bangsamoro and the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Mindanao is slated to be held at the Talaandig Ancestral Territory in Sungko, Lantapan town, Bukidnon province on March 7 and 8.

The ceremony on the re-affirmation of kinship among the non-Islamized natives and the Bangsamoro of Mindanao is designed to help facilitate the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). More

World Council of Churches disowns doctrine used against Indigenous Peoples

27.02.12

From a stamp engraved on copper by Th. de Bry, 1590: “Discovery of America, 12 May, 1492, Christopher Columbus erects the cross and baptizes the Isle of Guanahani by the Christian Name of St. Salvador.”

In a recent meeting, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee denounced the “Doctrine of Discovery”, which has been used to subjugate and colonize Indigenous Peoples. The Executive Committee issued a statement calling the nature of the doctrine” fundamentally opposed to the gospel of Jesus”.  

The statement was issued in a meeting from 14 to 18 February in Bossey, Switzerland, urging to repudiate this doctrine, which has permitted the enslavement of Indigenous Peoples in the name of Christianity.

The origin of the doctrine goes back to the papal bulls issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1452 and 1455 respectively, allowing the invasion and killing of the Indigenous Peoples. More

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