|"We do our best to ensure that justice prevails in all cases, and that victims of sexual violence and discrimination get the support they need."|
|Sapana Pradhan Malla
One woman's story
On 24 June 2011, a 21-year-old Buddhist nun traveling to visit family in far eastern Nepal had to spend the night on a bus halted by flooding. The driver and four other men from the bus company gang-raped her until she lost consciousness.
She spent several weeks hospitalized across the border in India before returning to Nepal, having suffered physical injuries and psychological trauma. The case, though registered with police, became stalled—giving rise to fears of corruption. Meanwhile, the bus company agitated for release of its men. Read more.
Soon, action grew to match the breadth of vision, which was to create institutions and muster resources toward forging a society where social justice and equality would prevail.
Using the legal system to fight discrimination, FWLD has built a record of accomplishment: progressive changes in laws regarding marital rape, women’s right to inheritance, and female citizenship rights, and more. Broadening its mandate, the group is now working on still greater number of fronts that include not only the rights of women, but also of the disabled, the elderly, children, sexual and gender minorities, indigenous minorities, Dalits, religious minorities, and other marginalized populations.
In this process, FWLD initiated pioneering research on issues related to child marriage, HIV/AIDS, female sexuality, reproductive and sexual health and rights, sex trafficking, and sexual harassment. FWLD also provides Legal Aid and Services to clients who are targets of discrimination, such as trafficked women, HIV/AIDS victims, and sexual minorities.
The organization has also been building the capacity of District Resource Groups in 23 districts of Nepal, emphasizing the issue of violence against women and children. In turn, DRG members train their Village Development Committee members, creating a multiplying effect of awareness across the country
Another capacity-building enterprise entails trainings and workshops for potential lawyers, law practitioners, human-rights activists, teachers, police, media, NGOs, and grassroot-level citizens. These trainings cover such subjects as CEDAW, paralegal skills, HIV/AIDS, sex and labor trafficking, legal awareness about violence against women, ways of empowering migrant women workers, the impact of national conflict on women, and strategies for using international constitutional mechanisms to advance women's reproductive rights. Additionally, FWLD, together with other civil-society NGOs, has been providing voter education to a public uninformed about the system of voting in Constituent Assembly Elections.
There are also the sudden emergency cases that require an in-depth response, and a committed follow-through. In their ongoing, tenacious efforts to change laws and transform social and cultural biases, FWLD, in Sapana Pradhan Malla’s words, “relentlessly works toward creating a just and equitable society.”
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International Herald Tribune Interview with Sapana Pradhan-Malla FWLD Founder discusses anti-trafficking efforts in Nepal
Founder Sapana Pradhan-Malla talks about the work of FWLD
Justice for Phulmaya: gang rapists
sentenced to 12 years
On 9 January 2012, the final court hearing against a bus driver and other
bus company employees charged
with gang raping a young Buddhist nun (“Phulmaya”) in Nepal took place. The
Sankhuwasabha District Court pronounced judgment in
favor of Phulmaya, who is represented by FWLD, and delivered its verdict
against the accused.
Read more. Photo: Sapana Pradhan Malla (left) with Ani Choying.
Nun faces expulsion from nunnery (Times of India)
Gang raped nun likely to be readmitted to nunnery (Times of India)
Ani Choying takes gang raped nun under her wing (República)
Nun's rapists sentenced to 12 years (Parakhi)