Thirty-three judges from the District Courts and High Courts of Koshi and Madhesh Provinces in Nepal participated in a Judicial Dialogue, jointly hosted by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the National Judicial Academy.
The participants discussed the major obstacles women typically face in accessing justice and the role and responsibilities of the judiciary as whole and individual judges in addressing these problems.
The participants stressed the need for a gender-friendly infrastructure and environment, including a “help desk”, free legal aid service where needed. These elements were said to be essential to break down barriers to women’s access to justice. The judiciary and in particular the Supreme Court of Nepal needed to work to ensure the effective incorporation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and Bangkok General Guidance for Judges on Applying a Gender Perspective in South and Southeast Asia (BGG).
Justice Sapana Pradhan Malla of the Supreme Court of Nepal underlined the critical importance of applying the principles of of equality and non-discrimination and other State obligations under the CEDA. She stressed that judges should be conscious to avoid harmful gender stereotypes and gender discrimination in the administration of justice.
Justice Nahakul Subedi, of the Supreme Court of Nepal discussed the BGG and highlighted the role of judges on gender sensitive adjudication.
Justice Gita Mittal, Former Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and former Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of New Delhi in India emphasized the role of judges in protection of women victims and vulnerable witness during trial proceedings.
Deputy Executive Director of National Judicial Academy (NJA) Kedar Paudel and NJA Faculty and high Court Judge Tek Narayan Kunwar shared their experience of making an imporant difference in the court environment through the refurbishment of the court-hearing settings. They further said that the NJA has been sensitive and working towards the internalization of the BGG into their training curriculum for judges and judicial officials.
The Judicial Dialogue held in Koshi Province, Jhapa on 2 and 3 March under the Enhancing Access to justice for women in Asia and the Pacific project, is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented jointly with UN Women and The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh – Lead, Women’s Access to Justice Project, International Commission of Jurists, t: +27 84 514 8039 e: Kaajal.Keogh@icj.org
Laxmi Pokharel, National Legal Adviser International Commission of Jurists, t: +9779851047588, e: firstname.lastname@example.orgAdvocacyNewsWeb stories