Call to amend unfair provisions gets stronger

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Call to amend unfair provisions gets stronger

Jul 13, 2015-

As the public opinions are being sought on the first draft of constitution, politicians, lawyers, right activists, youth campaigners and women organisations have intensified the discussion on discriminatory provision against women in the draft.

Provisions regarding women have been criticised as regressive than the provisions in the Interim Constitution. Participants in the Capital on Monday demanded amendment to the provision regarding citizenship. The new provision has made it mandatory for a child to have both parents Nepali citizens to acquire citizenship by descent. Similarly, a Nepali married to a foreign national will be eligible for naturalised citizenship only. Women’s reproductive health right has also been curtailed in the draft.

The activists demanded 40 percent representation of women at the local level in the new constitution be ensured.

“The draft is out and the government is collecting public opinions and we have taken this opportunity to state our dissatisfaction regarding the discriminatory provisions to be changed,” said Bandana Rana, president of Sathi organisation.

Activists and organisations working for women’s rights have formed a loose network called ‘Sajha Abhayan,’ to lobby for amendments in the draft.  

The network has called for the word “patriarchy”, which was removed from the preamble to be included in the new constitution. Other demands of the network are citizenship in the name of mother, and prohibition of polygamy.  

“The new constitution has failed to recognise women as its citizens,” said Dr Renu Rajbhandari, president of WOREC.

Meanwhile, youth activists have demanded for sexual and reproductive health rights, arguing reproductive health alone will not be able to ensure woman’s right over her body.

“Constitution is not written yearly that is why it has to be far-sighted, that is why it is important to incorporate woman’s sexual and reproductive health right in it,” said Rupa Upreti, general secretary of AYON.

The youths also condemned government for ratifying revolutionary conventions but failing to implement them at home.

Tney also called for a provision granting citizenship in the name of mother. Sonali Regmi, regional manager for Asia, highlighted the importance of reproductive health right on the overall health of women. “Reproductive health right is not just about abortion. It is about planning babies, when to have them and also about right to have access to contraceptives, something that will also prevent a woman from being just a breeding machine,” said Regmi.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Mahalaxmi Upadhaya Dina assured the youths that reproductive health right will be ensured in the new constitution and asked the young generation to have patience. “I give my words that reproductive health right will be ensured in the new constitution. Let us take it one step at a time. We might end up getting nothing if we demand too much at once,” said Dina.

She said that a lot needs to be done in order to get citizenship in the name of mother. “There are some leaders who are speaking for it, but there are many who still need to be pushed and we must continue putting pressure on them,” added Dina.

Published: 14-07-2015 07:40

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