From 7 to 8 December 2019, the ICJ, in collaboration with UN Women, organized the 2019 Workshop of Judicial Committee Members on Eliminating Discriminatory Attitudes Against Women. It was held in Biratnagar, Nepal, and gathered thirty members from judicial committees in Province 1.
Judicial committees were created under Nepal’s Local Governance Operation Act, which was passed in 2017. The law laid out areas of competence of the judicial committees that gives them the potential to significantly impact the lives of women at the community level.
On the first day of the workshop, the discussions were aimed at strengthening the understanding of the members of judicial committees on women’s human rights, and the importance of eliminating gender stereotyping in their work to enhance access to justice for women. On the second day, there were more discussions on the mandate of judicial committees in Nepal and how they can take on the role of promoting and protecting women’s human rights in the country.
As ICJ’s International Legal Adviser, Ms. Boram Jang, pointed out, “Judicial committees are the first points of contact for women in Nepal when they want to access justice.”
It is because of this vital role they hold that the ICJ and UN Women have decided to focus on strengthening the capacity of judicial committee members to better understand the root causes of discriminatory attitudes towards women.
“Women victims and survivors should be able to rely on a justice system free from myths and stereotypes, and on a judicial committee whose impartiality is not compromised by these biased assumptions,” said Boram Jang.
According to Ms. Subha Gale, Programme Analyst of UN Women, “When we deprive women of their ability to access justice, we take away all their rights.”
The keynote speech during the workshop was given by Ms. Bandana Rana, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee). In her speech, she noted how Nepal has moved forward since it adopted its new Constitution, which recognizes the important role women play in the country’s development.
Ms. Bandana Rana also reminded the participants at the workshop how gender stereotypes foster narratives that are harmful for women in society. She said, “If we want to bring change, we must change these narratives. If we want equality among men and women, we must start by teaching our sons – not just our daughters – about equality and non-discrimination.”
Laxmi Pokharel, National Legal Advisor, International Commission of Jurists, t: +977 9851047588, e: laxmi.pokharel(a)icj.orgAdvocacyWeb stories