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Advocacy{Policy Brief on addressing the Pandemic COVID 19}

Policy Briefing paper on addressing the pandemic of COVID 19 


Research, studies, policy analysis, and publications are important for building knowledge and shaping necessary policy changes. At the same time, the value of such products needs to be felt and understood by the key stakeholders: policy makers, parliamentarians, political leaders, civil society, media, and other stakeholders. Therefore, the HIDR aims to engage in policy dialogue and advocacy for engaging the key stakeholders in taking ownership and play catalytic roles in policy reform, revision, and necessary changes.

Policy analysis and dialogue is one of the important components of our work. Especially, Council of Thinkers carries out the activities of policy analysis and dialogue. The HIDR as the secretariat of the Council of Thinkers facilitates the activities of policy analysis and dialogue.

Policy analysis and dialogue is significant not only for the democratization of Nepalese society but it is also equally important for building efficient policies in different areas. However, the HIDR mainly focuses on the issues of equal citizens, a robust market, social protection, and the rule of law.

Unequal citizens cannot build a democratic nation. Whether it is movements of ethnic communities for cultural rights, women’s movement for gender equality, the issues of protecting children from violence, trafficking, and other insecurities, the Tharus demands for autonomy, the Dalits movement for dignified space in society, or the Madhes agitation for rights, all are underpinned by the idea of equal citizens. In fact, nation building at its core is a process of creating conditions for equal citizens. Therefore, the HIDR is engaged in contributing to creating the conditions for equal citizens through policy analysis, dialogue, and policy change.

Democracy practiced in political jargon, additionally besieged by corrupt practices, aggressive political culture, and ideological domination often misinterprets the idea of equal citizens and staggers in accomplishing the process of nation building. A real social inclusion becomes the unforgiving need, when the political side of democracy is motivated for a robust system of social protection or security. Moreover, social protection system becomes almost impossible to practice under a paternalistic system in place, which often contests the market. Instead, social protection rather resolutely demands an efficient market system to share the risks associated with distributing equity effectively. Thus, a social protection system should ensure that each citizen is guaranteed the minimum security with a legitimate risk sharing mechanism in place.

Effective welfare policy measures (social protection) scale up the inclusiveness of a state. Perhaps, there is no better way to make a state inclusive than steadfastly adopting efficient social protection policy measures. Therefore, through policy analysis, dialogue, and policy change, the HIDR would like to contribute in the area of social protection.

Traditionally, laws, policies, and institutions related to market were not taken earnestly from the perspectives of rights based approach. However, it has been undeniably proven that laws, policies, and institutions related to market affect the enabling environment for growth, empowerment, and development more than any other components of policies. In this light, the HIDR focuses on analyzing market based laws, policies, and institutions for the empowerment of people and creating better conditions for the institutionalization of democracy.{tab Tab Title 1}

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Acid Attack Activity Report

On the date of September 10th 2020, Prime Minister Oli made a public announcement to bring “Ordinance” within 15 days to address the issues of victim of acid attack.[1] In this pretext, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has been drafting the “Ordinance” to address issue related acid attack and its victim in the country.  In this context, on 20th September 2020, on behalf of various networks and organizations, in the representation of Ms. Indu Tuladhar, Executive Chair of Himal Innovative Development and Research Pvt. Ltd (HIDR) & ad hoc committee member of IGFF, a memorandum on the proposed ordinance on Control of Offences related to Acid Attack was handed over to Honorable Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Shivmaya Tumbahangphe. This memorandum was undersigned and supported in person by Ms. Bharati Silwal Giri, National Network Against Girls Trafficking (NNAGT) & Ms. Sushila Shrestha, Beyond Beijing Committee Nepal (BBC), Alka Shrestha (HIDR) and Ms. Rajkumari Dura, Gyan Bodh Research and Development Services. The memorandum was further undersigned by COMMIT Nepal, Blue Diamond Society, SAFE Nepal, and Prayatna Nepal.

HIDR lead the review of the existing legal mechanism, related to crimes of acid attack and rights of victim/survivors of crimes related to acid attack and drafting the memorandum along with legal technical inputs to finalize it. HIDR also coordinated with various civil society organizations within very short span of time for raising a collective voice to address the void on the implementation of existing laws related to acid attack related crimes and its impact.

While presenting the technical legal inputs, we urged the Minister to review and reflect whether it was necessary to bring ordinance to address the justice need of acid attack victims in the existing context as there were comprehensive laws already in place to protect the right of victims i.e., Crime Victim Protection Act, 2075 and other general laws like Muluki Criminal Code Act, 2074, which criminalizes such acts and makes punishable up to eight years. There is no legislative vacuum to protect the right of victims, but rather the absence of regulations, and action plan to implement it with adequate resources. There is no situation where an ordinance is required to take immediate action to provide justice to acid attack victim. Rather, there is scope of amendment of various laws to address the gaps in law. On the basis of these reasons, we urged the Minister to legislate the bill through a parliamentary process rather than through the ordinance. The Minister was also urged to incorporate gender transformative elements that address issues of patriarchy, and social norms that devalue girls and women, which is a deep seated issue that perpetrates acid attacks on women.  We recommended that the Bill should adopt feminist principles and approaches for establishing gender jurisprudence to deliver gender justice instead of punitive justice.

The Memorandum recommended implementing existing laws such as the Criminal Code, 2074, Crime Victim Protection Act, 2075, and the Act Related to Children, 2075 by introducing regulations and operating guidelines, rather than bringing in a new ordinance specifically on acid attack. These currently existing Acts have broad scopes that can be effectively used to address cases of acid attack as well as addressing the larger problem of lack of implementation of existing laws and subsequent pile up of new laws that do not see the light of day in reality. Rather, the memorandum recommends adding new provisions into the existing Acts, particularly the Criminal Code and the Crime Victim Protection Act.

The provisions recommended cover the issues of sentencing, controlling and monitoring the sale and purchase of acid, immediate relief and treatment for victims, and compensation to victim/family, for cases of acid attack. Apart from the recommended provisions for acid attack, the memorandum also highlights the legal and operational irregularities in the GBV Elimination Fund Regulations, and the non-establishment of the Crime Victim Relief Fund, which are crucial for addressing the rights of acid attack victims as well as victims of other gender based violence.

The Honorable Minister appreciated the concerns we brought before her and received the recommendations well. She also assured us that the Regulation for the Crime Victim Protection Act would be brought in soon to support the vital legislation for guaranteeing victims’ rights.

Image SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1. Formally presenting the recommendations of the memorandum to the Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. In picture (from left to right) Bharati Silwal Giri (NNAGT), Dr. Shivmaya Tumbahangphe (MOLJPA), Rishi Rajbhandari (Secretary, MoLJPA), Sushila Shrestha (BBC), and Indu Tuladhar (HIDR).