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E-Bulletin


December 2015

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Feminist Dalit Organization
(FEDO)


Kupondol, Lalitpur, Nepal.
G.P.O. Box No.: 4366, Ktm.

Tel: +977-01-5520982, 5543986
Fax: +977-01-5520982
Email: dms@fedo.wlink.com.np

Resources


Nepali Dalit Women's Charter for
New Nepal Building Process 2007

Organizer
Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO)

P.O. BOX 4366, Kathmandu Nepal
Email : dms@fedo.wlink.com.np
Website: www.fedonepal.org

Preamble:
The state's policies towards Dalit women, who have endured three-way ethnic, class-based and gender-based exploitation for generations, are discriminatory. Dalits make up 13 percent of the total population and Dalit women who make up half of that have been socially humiliated, devoid of economic access, deprived of education, without political representation for generation. Since they don't have any access and representation at any level of the state, they are deprived of services and facilities.

The human rights determined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, Covenant on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights 1966, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965, Convention on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women 1979, Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 and Convention Against Torture, are also the human rights of Dalit women. However, the state continues to exploit Dalit women, contrary to these international declarations and conventions. The state should guarantee these rights. We would like to remind, as a result of the sole regime that has been family-based, autocratic and feudal for time immemorial, Dalit women have been classified as second class citizens even among women. Realising that, in this changing social and political context, the contributions of Dalit women in all sectors, including the house, society, workplace and community should be appropriately appreciated and honoured to guarantee human rights. Dalit women, representing different ethnicities from different parts of different districts of the country participated in the national convention to ensure proportional representation of Dalit women in the constituent assembly and structuring of a new state . These Dalit women issued the Dalit Women's Charter for New Nepal Building Process and widely discussed it and issued the Dalit Women's Charter 2064 with consultation , on behalf of all Dalit women for effective equality, proportional participation and social justice .

We, Dalit women, welcome the people-oriented declaration made by the Parliament, which was reinstated after the success of Janaandolan 2, claiming Nepal a nation free of untouchability. However, our attention has been drawn to the fact that those declarations could not become the mechanisms of implementation [sic.]. Even after those declarations were made by the House of Representatives, Dalit women have had to endure ethnic and gender-based exploitation. Even after the Parliament declared them gender-based discrimination, dozens of (existing) Acts and laws are (still) discriminatory towards women [ tr. Nepali unclear]. The state is supposed to be restructured through the constituent assembly. We, Dalit women, express disappointment that the constituent assembly election could not be held on the determined date.

We warn that the decisions made by the interim government and Parliament and the constituent assembly should not be discriminatory towards Dalit women. We believe that the government, established by the Janaandolan , will respect the mandate of the people and hold the constituent assembly election as soon as possible and a state committed to people's welfare, with proportional representation of Dalit women, will be established. We, Dalit women, would like to reiterate that the country will be restructured in a true sense only if the state can convince all the citizens that the rights provided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1984 [sic.], International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1065 [sic.], Convention on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women 1979, Covenant on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights 1966 and Convention Against Torture, will be guaranteed through the restructuring of the state. For a long time, Dalit women have been exploited ethnically and because of gender bias and poverty. Additionally, during the 12-year people's war of the CPN (Maoist), Dalit women were forced to endure various forms of violence, some from the state side and some from revolutionary side. As a result of poverty and illiteracy, which are deep-rooted like ethnic discrimination, general Dalit women are still not in a position to demand their rights. Therefore, Dalit women continue to be exploited by the traditional, feudalistic state. Realising these facts, we appeal that during the restructuring of the state, representation of Dalit women be guaranteed in all bodies of the state, for social justice, (to guarantee) minimum rights of women, for ending impunity and for proportional representation of Dalit women in the state (structure).

Human rights for Dalit women cannot be guaranteed until the state forms a constitution, and develops policies, rules, acts and laws that do justice to women's special biological reproductive rights, reproductive rights including social justice and rights related to ethnic roles. Accepting this truth, we, Nepali Dalit women, demand that the constitution, policies, rules, acts and laws formed during the restructuring of the Nepali state, protect our special rights and guarantee human rights for us. The demands for rights, made through this Charter, will be based on the principles of inclusion. Similarly, there is diversity among Dalit women. Accepting this diversity, we reiterate that the work done (to guarantee) the special rights of Dalit women, should focus on the women who are backward, even among Dalit women and on those who represent this diversity.

The Condition of Dalit Women
We believe that Nepal can be transformed into a fully democratic republic state only by ensuring the representation of Dalit women, who are the most backward in social, economic, political and education sectors, in all aspects of state restructuring. Therefore, we request that (restructuring) be conducted in this manner (through representation of Dalit women). Nepal has been left behind politically and economically because of the feudalistic and patriarchal structure that has existed in the country for centuries, and also because of Brahminic control over means of production. Since only non-Dalit women have access to the facilities and opportunities that are made available by the government for women, Dalit women have been further isolated from the state structure. Nepal is in one of the poorest countries in the world because of the state's discriminatory policies towards Dalits from time immemorial.

We, Nepali Dalit women, condemn the various types of ethnic and gender-based discrimination and we demand that our rights be guaranteed by utilising this historical opportunity that the current political changes in the country has offered.

The Dalits, who comprise 25 percent of the total population, have been isolated because of the practice of untouchability, which exists even in the 21 st century as the remains of the feudal system. A crime is being committed against Dalits, who make up 25 percent of the population. As a result of such practices of untouchability, Dalit women have been further marginalised. Therefore, they are forced to endure violence, exploitation and risks. We allege that the patriarchal values that dominate the country, society, political parties, civil society and households are core elements that lead to the backwardness of women. The patriarchal system has limited women to the household, within the boundaries of domestic and social work, and only men have taken the responsibility for social and political work and leadership. For centuries, democracy and human rights has been looked at and understood based on the views and experiences of men and as a result they have been defined in a discriminatory manner. The structures of community, society and state have been organized and brought into use in a manner such that it is easy for men to (adopt) leadership role and benefit from them (the structures).

We, Dalit women, have the right to make decisions to control our own life and body. We have an important responsibility towards society, house, family and the state. However, we have been deprived of the opportunity to make decisions and we have been isolated from decision-making roles. We want to be partners in all decision-making levels, within the household as well as the state. We demand that proportional participation of Dalit women in all social, economic and political decision-making processes and levels be made mandatory.

The future changes in the social, economic, legal and political systems of Nepal should be based on the experiences of Dalit women (us), who represent Dalit women from different districts of the country and have been working for Dalit women's issues.

All Dalit women, strongly demand that the in order to end the existing discriminatory values, behaviours, policies/rules, (that impact) all aspects of our life, including health, education, communication, traditions, family and married life, culture, religion, finance, that they (the abovementioned aspects) be analysed from social, economic and cultural rights as well as political and civil rights standpoint, and that they (the rights) be guaranteed from the human rights perspective.

1. Political and Civil Life
Traditionally, Dalit women were isolated from political, civil and community-level decision-making processes. To ensure inclusive democracy, Dalit women's participation is necessary in all political activities. For this purpose, we demand that the following tasks be accomplished and implemented.

•  13 percent of the seats in the constituent assembly election should be reserved for Dalit women.

•  Equal access and opportunities should be ensured for Dalit women at all levels of policy-making and leadership, existing as well as those that will be created. Political parties are the foundation of a democratic republic. Democracy can be upheld in a country only if they (the political parties) are democratic, inclusive and transparent. Since the objective of the democratic system is to make backward communities equally capable as other citizens, we demand proportional representation of Dalit women in each sector.

•  Inclusive proportional participation of Dalit women should be made mandatory at all levels within the political parties, from decision making to village levels. Legal provisions should be made to deny national party recognition to the parties that do not have participation of Dalit women at all levels.

•  20 percent of seats reserved for the Dalit community and 10 percent of the seats reserved for women at all levels of the state should be reserved for Dalit women.

•  Traditional institutions should be restructured as per the principle of democracy.

•  The state should build special mechanisms to support full political participation of Dalit women.

•  Dalit women should be free of political fear and threat.

2. Equality
Equality is the main principle of our Charter. All our rights are based on the principle of equality. We believe that there should be equality between men and women and also between Dalit women and non-Dalit women. During the upcoming restructuring of state, disparities between different women should be identified and a special system should be implemented to eliminate the problems of ethnic discrimination, gender discrimination and sexual exploitation that Dalit women have been facing. The demands put forward in the course of our struggle for equality are based on the fact that Dalit women are behind in all spheres of life and are discriminated against. We believe that in the present economic and political context, only superficial equal behaviour towards Dalit women, other women and men cannot (actually) maintain equality. Therefore, in order to promote equality in the real sense, special provisions are necessary for Dalit women for the time being.

Equality is essential in every aspect of life. We demand that we are treated equally in every aspect of life, from family and workplace to state affairs, and an atmosphere be created to ensure equality. Therefore, we demand that the following legal provisions be made to provide directives, so that all the policies, regulations and legal provisions made by the government reflect equality.

•  Public places are still not accessible to Dalits. To end this, it should be defined as a crime, which might even lead to invalidation of citizenships of those who engage in discriminatory behaviour in public places.

•  Special legal provisions should be made to establish the rights of Dalit women in the future restructured state. We demand that special arrangements be made to ensure their equal proportional participation in the decision-making levels of state restructuring. Apart from this, there should be just participation of Dalit women in social, economic, political, cultural and civil life. Special arrangements should be made so that everyone is able to equally reap the benefits of development.

•  By focusing on the provisions of the convention regarding uprooting all kinds of violence against Dalit women, the Civil Act should be amended to allocate a 20 percent quota for proportional participation of Dalit women in government services. There should be provisions for positive discrimination, to increase Dalit women's participation at the decision-making level.

•  The participation of Dalit women in nation's security agencies, such as Nepal Police and Nepali Army, is important. This is not possible without making special arrangements for Dalit women and without the amendment of Acts r egarding Nepal Police and Nepali Army. Therefore, the Acts pertaining to the Nepali Army and Nepal Police should be changed, and a 20 percent quota should be allocated for Dalit women.

•  A separate high level commission should be formed to provide suggestions to the government to ensure and promote participation of Dalit women at all levels of the nation, to investigate as necessary and to monitor whether or not provisions for equal participation exist within government agencies.

•  From within the 33 percent, which is reserved for women, proportional participation should be ensured for Dalit women on the basis of population.

•  Everyone should strictly follow national laws, based on general conventions, to uproot discrimination based on caste, gender and other criteria. A commission should be formed for its implementation.

3. Rehabilitation / Reunion
Dalit women who were part of the agitating army have been affected in various ways by the 12 years of armed movement in the country. Some are mutilated, some were raped, some are living the lives of a displaced (person) and some have been forced to spend their lives as a widow. Similarly, the children of hundreds of Dalit women have run away because of the conflict, they were forced to embrace various risky jobs and were made to disappear. Focusing on this, we demand that the current government prioritise and carry out the following activities.

•  A countrywide investigation should be carried out to gather accurate information about war-affected Dalit women.

•  Proper medical treatment, counselling and suitable compensation should be provided, as needed, to Dalit women, who were mutilated, raped and sexually exploited.

•  Appropriate investigation of disappeared Dalits should be carried out and their status should be made public. Appropriate compensation and help should be provided to the families of the disappeared and an environment should be created, where internally displaced people can return home with dignity.

•  All Dalit children below the age of 18, who were forced to engage in risky jobs, inside and outside of the country, should be rescued and proper arrangements should be made to improve their lives.

•  Rehabilitation/reunion is not possible without justice. Therefore, suitable investigations should be conducted about the crimes that were committed during the conflict and appropriate actions should be taken against perpetrators.

•  Special legal provisions should be implemented to end impunity.

4. Law and Justice
We have all accepted the fact that law guided by feudal and patriarchal thinking has not been able to provide necessary justice to Dalit women. Therefore, we demand that the following provisions be made for the development, usage and explanation of laws, based on the principles of equality:

•  Appropriate training should be organized to explain gender and ethnic perspectives to all legal practitioners and judges and the restructuring of the judicial administration is absolutely necessary.

•  Special policy, incorporating special legal provisions, should be formulated for participation of Dalit women in judicial services. For this, the social, economic and political conditions of Dalit women should be analysed while formulating, using and interpreting policies and making laws.

•  Dalit women's rights for legal assistance should be ensured through the creation of family courts and close court system.

•  Equality for Dalit women should be guaranteed in every aspect of law.

•  Legal provisions should be made to ensure the rights of Dalit women to own property buy and sell (property), their land rights, ancestral rights and equal rights over paternal property.

•  Legal provisions should be made to guarantee participation of Dalit women in the decision-making levels of public, government and non government sectors.

•  Necessary new laws should be created, through a human rights perspective, to end different types of violence that are done to or could be done to women because of their status as Dalits and women, due to the weak structure of the country.

•  Laws against rape should be promulgated and an implementation mechanism should be immediately built.

•  Provisions should be immediately made for a victim-oriented justice system. Policy framework has to be prepared for capacity building of all sectors that are required for this.

•  Laws should be created to ensure participation of Dalit women at all levels, from members to employees, in high level independent commissions like the Human Rights Commission, Women's commission and Dalit Commission.

•  Laws should be formed to guarantee proportional participation of Dalit women at all levels, from members to employee, in constitutional commissions like the Election Commission, Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and Public Service Commission.

•  Laws should be created to guarantee participation of Dalit women in all commissions and committees, which are formed by the government to serve any purpose.

•  Laws should be formed to ensure participation of Dalit women in judicial services, from the Supreme Court to the Appellate Court, district courts and special courts. Along with this, laws with special arrangements should be created to provide access to Dalit women to every level of judicial services.

•  If any Dalit woman is found to be a criminal, provisions should be made to punish her equally, based on the nature of the crime.

•  Economic System
The economic rights of women are of great importance for empowerment and equality of Dalit women. The prevailing economic system and economic policies have not assessed women's work. There is a stronghold of men and non-Dalit women in strategic places of the economic sector. Participation of Dalit women is limited due to different social, economic and ideological impediments prevailing in the economic structure. Similarly, Dalit women don't have social security in workplaces. Even minimum facilities, such as child care, treatment and special arrangements during menstruation are not available. The working environment is not safe for them. Dalit women are exploited in different offices, compelled to leave their job or take risks because of these reasons. Therefore, we would like to put forth the following demands for equal participation of Dalit women in the economic sector.

•  The state should implement special programme packages to modernise indigenous occupations and skills of the Dalits.

•  The practice of classifying work based on gender and ethnicity should be immediately stopped. To discourage the trend of such classification, division of work on the basis of gender should be made punishable by law.

•  Policy based arrangement should be made for (providing) pension, safe accommodation, and medical services at places where Dalit women work. In addition, perpetrators of ethnic discrimination should be punished by the law and arrangements should be made to dismiss registration of such offices and make them pay penalty.

•  Statistics of single women, widows and Dalit women who are sole bread earners should be collected and arrangements should be made for (providing) special employment and facilities to them. The government should make provisions for special concession cards for Dalit women who are sole bread earners of the family.

•  Health facilities (should be made available) and safe environment should be created for Dalit women working in the informal sector. Their jobs should be evaluated and employment should be guaranteed for them.

•  The trend of arbitrarily providing minimum wages to Dalit women in the informal sector, practicing different forms of exploitation and compelling them to work against their will should be ended. Necessary legal and administrative provisions should be made to end exploitation in the informal sector and to maintain justice.

•  Provisions should be made to allow women, working in the informal sector, to form trade unions.

•  The state should play a supportive role in providing collateral-free loans to Dalit women, in identifying businesses and in market management, so that they (Dalit women) can initiate new economic enterprises.

•  Mechanisms should be developed to ensure participation of Dalit women at all levels, from the Ministry of Finance to policy formulation for economic transactions, discussions for economic development of country, plan formulation and development of implementation mechanisms.

•  Education and Training
Education is a basic human right. Education is the most essential element for the 21 st century human being. However, majority of the Dalits in Nepal are deprived of education. The education provided by the current education system especially schools, colleges and vocational training (institutions) does not incorporate the experiences and needs of Dalit women. Thus, we put forth the following demands.

•  The current education (system) in Nepal is patriarchal and everyone does not have access to it. Further, it is unpractical and discriminatory. Thus, people-oriented and practical education policy should be implemented.

•  Compulsory education with (full) scholarship should be provided to Dalit women from primary to higher level education, in both technical and non-technical fields.

•  Rapidly increasing commercialisation of the education sector should be stopped and discriminatory education should be abolished.

•  Education institutions with special facilities and materials should be organized for child care centres and for differently-abled people.

•  The materials that are in the curriculum and portray ethnic discrimination should be immediately removed and the curriculum should be reformed in a way such that it respects the ancestral occupations of Dalits.

•  Educational materials that eliminate ethnic and gender discrimination and raise awareness should be included in the curriculum from primary to higher level education.

•  The needs of the working, rural, differently-abled, single and adult Dalit women should be identified and provisions should be made to provide accessible quality education to them.

•  Compulsory provisions should be made to include one female Dalit teacher in each school.

•  Development, Physical Infrastructure and Environment
Women take major responsibility in the community and the household. Despite this, majority of Dalit women are deprived of essential basic facilities that are required for management of household, family and society. We are still deprived of an environment for healthy and productive life. Dalit women have not even been able to enjoy the fruits of basic development, which is essential for life. Slowly increasing encroachment of land, forest and water at the community level and privatisation has made the lives of landless settlers, squatters and farmer Dalit women, residing in rural communities, more difficult. Realising these facts, we demand that the following tasks be accomplished for (the establishment of) new Nepal. The following task needs to be accomplished to make legal provisions for physical development environment and its implementation [ tr. Nepali unclear].

•  Commitments should be made and implementation mechanisms should be developed to execute each development programme from the perspective of Dalit rights.

•  While implementing the development projects, it should be ensured that Dalit women also benefit from possible employment opportunities at such projects.

•  Policies should be formulated and budget should be allocated for providing safe drinking water and latrines in all places, including Dalit villages and settlements.

•  Arrangements should be made to render electricity and telephone available in Dalit settlements and villages through prioritisation.

•  Safe shelter is the right of all Dalit women. Understanding that women are exposed to different types of violence in the absence of safe houses, arrangements should be made to develop rural shelters for Dalit women and arrangements should be made to provide loan to Dalit women for safe shelters in an easy manner.

•  Dalit squatters should be guaranteed safe shelters.

•  Special health, education, entertainment and social welfare facilities should be made available to Dalit women.

•  Policies and programmes for conservation and utilisation of natural resources should be implemented in a way such that it ensures Dalit women's rights and the benefits from it should be equally distributed.

•  Dalit women play a vital role in management and conservation of natural resources. Therefore, Dalit women's right of participation at the decision-making level should be ensured while taking decisions on management and mobilisation of natural resources at the community level.

•  Social Services
Social service is a right, not a facility. The following provisions should be made to provide social services in a manner accessible to Dalit women.

•  The state and private sector should provide social welfare services to Dalit women as per the principle of social justice, equality and access.

•  Social service should specifically incorporate the needs of differently-abled, single and widowed Dalit women residing in rural and geographically remote areas.

•  Provisions for economic and social security should be guaranteed for Dalit women, on the basis of equality.

•  All social services should be made easily available and accessible to Dalit women.

•  Family and Conjugal Life
There are many families in our society who have not been able to utilise equal rights, responsibilities and reap the benefits. Dalit women have unequal responsibilities in household chores. They have very limited rights to make decisions. To change this, the current democratic government should guarantee the following provisions and rights for Dalit women.

•  All types of families should be entitled to equal recognition and treatment.

•  Dalit women should have equality in family matters, marriage and cordial relationships.

•  Dalit women should get equal property rights as husbands and brothers.

•  During the process of marriage and divorce, Dalit women should be guaranteed the right to equal participation.

•  Arrangements should be made to ensure Dalit women's equal access and control over economic resources of the family.

•  There should be provisions for Dalit women to receive guardianship of their children.

•  Inter-caste marriage should be legally recognised and the state should initiate programmes to further encourage it.

10. Customs, Culture and Religion
Hindu customs, culture and religion, which prevails in our society and is followed by the majority, discriminates against and looks down upon Dalit women. Gender biased activities and roles are imposed upon Dalit women. The burden of untouchability, on the ground of ethnicity, has been imposed on Dalit women by women themselves. Dalit women have been side-lined from the decision making process and leadership and participation in various religious and cultural traditions and customs. This type of discriminatory tradition and behaviour should be ended. The following provisions are necessary for this.

•  Dalit women should be established in society in a respectful manner by ending traditional superstitions and age-old negative traditions, including untouchability, chhaupadi , dowry, treasure digging, balighare [ tr . exchanging skill for harvest] and sexual exploitation of Badi women, and by providing security to couples of inter-caste marriage.

•  In laws regarding human rights, custom, culture and religion should be incorporated under the glossary of equality.

•  All Dalit women should be allowed to freely practice their religion, culture and customs, without any kind of discrimination.

•  The cultures, traditions, and customs that adversely affect, discriminate against and harm Dalit women in some way or other, should be changed.

•  An action plan should be formed to guarantee elimination of all kinds of systems and traditions that harm Dalit women, keep them in isolation and abuse their human rights under the guise of religion, custom and culture.

11. Violence against Dalit women
Violence against Dalit women is being practiced in Nepali society on the basis of discriminatory social, cultural, economic, religious and political tradition and beliefs. The following provisions are necessary to end such violence.

•  Dalit women should be guaranteed security at home, in the community, workplace and public places, and their rights to be free from all kinds of violence should be ensured.

•  The state should take responsibility of enforcing issues like dignity, morality and equality of human being in the form of public education.

•  There should be appropriate provisions for protecting Dalit women from sexual misconduct, violence and exploitation.

•  Centres where Dalit women can register their complaints against rape, beatings and sexual misconduct, and get necessary treatment and counselling services, including medical tests, should be established and they should be staffed with trained personnel.

•  Necessary education and training should be provided to police, doctors, surgeons, lawyers and judges to register, inquire about and investigate cases like rape, beatings and sexual misconduct.

•  Efforts should be made to form laws that provide full justice to victims, and the capacity of implementation mechanism for such laws should be increased, so that they can work from a human rights perspective.

•  The state should immediately organize shelters and counselling centres for Dalit women who have been victims of rape, beatings and sexual misconduct. Such counselling centres should be established in all districts. The state should allocate separate budgets for safe shelters, counselling centres and institutions, which are sensitive towards the rights of Dalit women, should be responsible for managing such centres.

•  A high level commission should be formed to end violence and discrimination against Dalit women.

12. Health
Health services and consultation has become a dream for rural Dalit women. Most Dalit women have lost their lives in the absence of basic health services. The mortality rate in Nepal is highest among Dalit women. Along with this, Dalit women are plagued with more health-related problems than people of other castes. Dalit women are even unaware of the fact that health care is their right, thus they are unable to raise their voices to demand it. That is why, to establish health as a human right, the following provisions or tasks need to be immediately implemented.

•  Because of increasing privatisation and commercialisation of health services, such services are beyond the reach of Dalit women. Thus, such privatisation and commercialisation should be discouraged and health service should be made easily accessible.

•  The special health needs of Dalit women should be addressed through easily accessible and free health service.

•  Standard health service and benefits should be ensured for Dalit women from the village level to the national level.

•  Family planning related education, information and material should be made available to Dalit women and men free of charge.

•  The state should make arrangements to ensure sufficient nourishment for Dalit women.

•  The problem of uterine prolapse is predominant among Dalit women. The main reason for this is; they face violence from birth, unequal behaviour toward them, their work load and lack of proper support during child birth and immediately after child birth. These facts should be thought about and policies should be formed, implemented and budget should be allocated to solve problems related to uterine prolapse and treatment should be provided to those suffering from it.

13. Media
The reach of Dalits in media, such as newspapers, television and computers is not currently ensured. Through the following provisions, opportunities should be provided for Dalit women to be well-informed and well-educated.

•  Participation of Dalit women should be ensured in all media.

•  Policies should be formulated for broadcasting and publishing, in all forms of media, the contributions of Dalit women in public as well as private sectors.

•  With the goal of solving the current caste-based and gender-based discrimination, the media should advance activities that encourage equality.

•  Participation of Dalit women should be ensured in both government and private media sectors.

14. Dalit Women and Agriculture
Nepal is a country where most depend on agriculture. More than 75 percent of those in the agriculture sector are women. Among them, the participation of Dalit women is highest. Many Dalit farmers in Nepal are landless because of the patriarchal and feudal land-ownership rights system. Dalit women are not even defined as farmers because they don't have land rights. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of Dalit women in the country are surviving by working as agricultural labourers. Thus, we put forward the following demands.

•  The right to eat is interlinked with the right to live. Both these rights have to be ensured and implemented by the constitution as the fundamental rights of women.

•  Revolutionary land-reform programmes should be immediately implemented and necessary land should be made available to Dalit women.

•  Legal provisions should be enforced to grant women equal land rights as men.

•  Access and control of local communities, especially Dalit women, to local seeds and saplings, biological diversity and natural resources should be guaranteed .

•  Food security should be guaranteed for Dalit women.

•  The widespread disparity in daily wages paid to women and men should be immediately brought to an end and an equal wage system should be implemented.

•  Infant care should be organized and toilets should be made available for the children of women working as agricultural labourers.

15. Conclusion
 This Charter reflects the experiences, perspectives and expectations of common Dalit women. We are ending our silence, and through this Charter we request that the expected changes and state restructuring be implemented for respect of human values, to end discrimination and for social, economic, cultural and political equality. During the restructuring of the state, special provisions should be guaranteed for ensuring the reproductive role and related rights of Dalit women and the principles of international documents on human rights should also be fully guaranteed. Dalit women are marginalised by the state because of various reasons. They are compelled to endure different types of violence, discrimination and harassments. Bearing this in mind, legal provisions should be made to include women in the decision making levels and to end differences between Dalit and non-Dalit women. New Nepal should guarantee proportional representation of Dalit women, who have for centuries been left behind from all levels of the state. Reiterating that such atmosphere is impossible as long as the unitary regime prevails in the country, we demand a fully democratic republic state.

We would like to remind, the establishment of sustainable peace in the country is not possible until these demands are fulfilled. We also declare that our struggle will continue until our demands are met.



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