Women In Nepal – Stateless
- 3 minute read
- • by Sharon Koifman
- • October 3, 2022
Believe it or not, there are nearly 12-15 million people around the world that are not recognized as citizens in the country they reside. Whether it is Kurds in Syria, Nubians in Kenya, Rohingyas in Myanmar, and the Yao, Hmong, and Karen tribes in Thailand.
But there is one country where nearly 24% (5.4 million in 2018) of the country is stateless. It is also highly distinguished by the fact that the majority of the people that do not have citizenship are women. In Nepal, there is a growing number reaching more than 5 million who weren’t given citizen rights, over four million of them are women.
Well, you will probably ask, how’s that possible? how do these women belong to some stateless minority? Was it a group of rebellious women that stood up to authority? Are they some amazonian chief warriors who migrated across broder and chose to live in solitude? The answer is none of it. There are any Nepalese women that their husbands or fathers chose not to give rights to?
You heard that right. For a woman or a girl to obtain Citizenship, they need to get permission from their husband, father, or the husband’s family if she is a widow.
When it comes to children, if the father is dead or disappeared, his children become stateless. After the Civil War in 2006, the law was relaxed on paper, but in practice, these kids still did not receive citizenship. They also become stateless if these kids are born to a foreign father.
In 2015, they loosened the law a bit more and decided to give semi-valid naturalized Citizenship Certificates, which means “citizen” without the right to be in a public office.
This is a particularly empowering for an abusive dominating male figure in women’s lives, who can choose to remove all barely basic rights at his convenience.
You are probably thinking to yourself, but yes, there are plenty of countries with literally no rights for women, but at least that is controlled by the state. Here, in Nepal, it is the man who chooses whether basic rights are permitted to this person or not. Which literally gives unlimited power to any abuser with no repercussions.
When it comes to general Human Rights, Nepal is just a shit show. Between 1996 and 2006, a battle between the Nepalese government forces and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN- Maoist) led to the most recorded disappearances of its time. After the war, both parties just continuously cause as much Human Rights havoc to the other side’s supporters.
Whether torture, unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, and abductions, they got it all.
Generally, Nepalese get discriminated against based on ethnicity, caste, and gender, whereas the rural parts of the country are completely neglected. And you can find violence everywhere, especially towards women that have no rights.
This is a shit show that could be stopped if the UN and the world could actually pay attention. I hope this is a wake-up call. We must take care of these women.
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