ASIA: Human Rights Council alerted to gender-motivated violations in Nepal, Pakistan and Indonesia

date: June 26, 2012
document id: ALRC-COS-20-11-2012
HRC section: Item 3, General Debate
Speaker: Ms. Juliette Thibaud

An Oral Statement to the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organization in general consultative status

ASIA: Human Rights Council alerted to gender-motivated violations in Nepal, Pakistan and Indonesia

Thank you Madam President,

The ALRC is gravely concerned by widespread gender-based discrimination and violence in Asia. In Nepal, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly risks greatly undermining efforts to increase protection of women’s rights, by weakening the accountability of law enforcement agencies in dealing with gender-motivated violence, and delaying the adoption of much-needed legislation such as the criminalization of violence against women accused of witchcraft. We welcome the concern expressed by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women regarding such victims, who face considerable obstacles in accessing justice, as such violence is not being treated as a crime.

In addition to inadequate legislation and the absence of an effective victim protection mechanism, the dissolution risks further delaying action to provide effective remedies to women who were raped or tortured during the country’s decade-long conflict. Furthermore, women are now twice as likely to be tortured in detention compared to two years ago, according to Nepal’s Advocacy Forum. In 2010, 7 per cent of women detainees reported being tortured. This rose to 15.4 percent in the first half of 2012.

Women in Pakistan face discrimination in all facets of life, domestic abuse, sexual violence including rape, torture and honour killings, which are typically accompanied by impunity. Methods of recording evidence are biased against women, who face stigmatization and an undue burden of proof, undermining their attempts to seek justice, notably concerning rape. Some 70% of people who commit honour killings escape punishment. Annually, hundreds of girls from religious minorities are being abducted, raped and forcibly converted. Despite the 2011 Prevention of Anti-women Practices Act, the police refuse to intervene in such cases and courts are complicit in recognizing forced marriages.

The ALRC is gravely concerned by reports of high levels of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Indonesia. In 2010, the Minister of Health issued regulations on how to perform FGM, which undermines efforts to ban the practice and in effect encourages its use. The ALRC urges the Indonesian government to immediately repeal this regulation and explicitly prohibit FGM.

Thank you.

About ALRC

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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