Amnesty Int’l urges end to discrimination in aid effort

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jun 2, 2015-

Thousands in need of aid following the Nepal earthquake risk being left to fend for themselves amidst worrying signs that gender, caste and ethnic discriminations are inhibiting the aid effort, Amnesty International has said. It has urged authorities and the international community to put human rights at the core of the earthquake response.

“The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal has killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands in dire need of aid. Nepali and international actors – including civil society - have responded to this humanitarian crisis heroically, but there are some serious issues brewing that need to be addressed urgently,” Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director, said in a statement on Monday.

“A human rights compliant approach to the disaster response will be critical to ensuring that the quest for equality, justice and accountability in Nepal does not lose ground as the country struggles to recover from the devastation.”

An Amnesty International delegation that visited Nepal in the aftermath of the 25 April earthquake found that groups who are often the target of discriminatory treatment in Nepal, including women who head households, Dalits, Indigenous Peoples or people with disabilities, are also facing increased challenges when accessing urgently needed relief.

“Survivors report that in some communities the aid effort has been politically manipulated.

Those with ‘muscle’ – political connections – end up claiming desperately needed supplies meant for everyone. All actors involved in the relief and reconstruction effort must ensure that human rights principles are fully respected,” said Bennett. “Under international law, Nepal has a duty to ensure that aid reaches those who need it – regardless of where it is coming from. Playing politics with people’s lives is deplorable.”

Published: 03-06-2015 07:07

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