‘The indigenous women’s voices and “her stories”, as an integral part of the women’s movement and indigenous peoples’ movement, remain faint. This reflects the overall conditions of indigenous women as relatively more marginalized, discriminated against and dis-empowered at all levels. It also illustrates the urgent need to strengthen indigenous women’s organizations and institutions, as well as their leadership and effective participation, in all matters that concern them as women and as indigenous peoples.’ Joan Carling, Secretary General, AIPP.
The contours of “New Nepal” we all dream of cannot be shaped without appropriately addressing the concerns being raised by the indigenous women, who comprise half the female population. Traditionally, these women enjoyed greater degree of freedom and socioeconomic status than those from the so-called high caste Hindu groups such as Bahun, Chhetri, and Thakuri, who were restricted by pervasive patriarchy and religious orthodoxy. Unlike these women of the Indo-Aryan origin, the indigenous women were adept in handicrafts and other enterprises and freely participated in socio-cultural events. They faced no restriction during menstruation and were even free to choose their life partner and to remarry if they became single. They were also less affected by the dowry system.
1. Destruction at Dawn: The Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Republic of Nepal
An in-depth report into the development of the Arun III hydropower project and the challenges it, and projects like it, pose to the Nepali government commitments to protect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples (LAHURNIP, NGO-FONIN and FPP).
This submission had been made jointly by the Nepal Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), the Lawyer’s Association for the Human Rights of Nepal’s Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).
In July, the 49th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) met in New York. Indigenous women in Nepal, under the umbrella of the Nepal Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), attended the session for the first time to defend and explain the findings that they had presented to the Committee in their Shadow Report.
The report was supported also by the Lawyer’s Association for the Human Rights of Nepal’s Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and by the Forest Peoples Programme, and represented the first national level, self-researched and written, report on the status of indigenous women in the newly emerging Nepalese republic.
A shadow report to the 49th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), jointly submitted by the National Indigenous Women's Federation (NIWF), the Lawyers' Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).