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

UN Committee expresses concern about violence against Karen people in Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park

26 March 2012

GENEVA – UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination has expressed concern regarding forceful eviction and harassment of Karen indigenous people from Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park and requested the government to provide information on their situation in the park.

The Committee sent a letter sent to the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the UN on 9 March 2012 in response to the information submitted by a non-governmental organization.

According to the information, the Committee writes, an increasing level of violence has been committed against the Karen people by the Thai National Park and Forestry Authorities despite existing laws protecting the rights of the Karen people to live in national parks and other forest areas. They point out that laws such as the Thai Cabinet Resolution of 3rd August 2010 (on the restoration of traditional practices and livelihoods of Karen people) categorically provide them with the right to remain in ancestral lands and practise traditional agricultural rotation. More

Indigenous groups suffer from higher rates of violence against women

Indigenous Women

From 18 to 20 January 2012, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held an International Expert Group Meeting at UN Headquarters entitled “Combating violence against indigenous women and girls: Article 22 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” This conference applied a human rights framework to the issue of gender‐ based violence faced by indigenous women, while contextualizing its global manifestations in the context of States’ responsibilities under international human rights law, as articulated in Article 22.2 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP): “States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.”

Focusing especially on issues of policing and jurisdiction, as well as outlining anti‐violence strategies, the experts sought to articulate a holistic approach to addressing violence against women that recognizes indigenous peoples’ ongoing struggles for self‐determination in the face of multidimensional discrimination and socioeconomic disadvantages. The panel characterized violence against indigenous women and girls as a pervasive form of human rights abuse, while drawing attention to the contemporary and historical contexts of indigenous communities and identifying steps towards the enhancement of their capacities and rights. More

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