WELCOME TO NATIONAL INDIGENOUS WOMEN FORUM (NIWF)

Indigenous women of Nepal face multiple forms of discrimination. Indigenous women, being indigenous peoples, face racial, linguistic, religious, cultural, economic, political discrimination and exclusion. Also, indigenous women, being women, face gender discrimination. Thus, indigenous women are victimized by ideologies, policies and practices of Bahunbad (Brahmanism) and patriarchy. Empowerment and strengthening of indigenous women is a must to end all forms of racial and gender discrimination, exploitation, suppression and oppression against indigenous women. Acceptance of multi-caste and ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural reality of Nepali society by the people’s movement of 1990 has indeed paved a way for non-governmental organizations to contribute for empowerment and strengthening of indigenous peoples, women and other excluded groups and communities. There was growing realization for a need of organized efforts by indigenous women to make development programs for women and indigenous peoples successful, to organize and empower indigenous women from local to national levels on common issues of women, and to work for equity and equality by having common objectives on women’s common issues. It was in this backdrop that the National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) was founded in 1998.

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NIWF Statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples:Amend the Constitution of Nepal 2015 to recognize all the rights of indigenous women and self-determination

9 August 2019

We indigenous peoples of the world are celebrating International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples this year with a special theme “Indigenous Languages”.

It is unfortunate that the Constitution of Nepal, 2015 fail to recognize collective rights of indigenous peoples, including self-determination, land, territories and resources, self-government, customary law, indigenous women’s rights and languages of indigenous peoples. The constitution recognizes racial supremacy of the dominant Khas, Arya (Bahun, Chetri, Thakuri and Dasnami) by recognizing them as a legal entity.

The government’s recent decisions relating to indigenous peoples, such as draft Guthi bill to eliminate indigenous Newar’s customary self-government system, advertisement by Public Service commission of Nepal disrespecting quotas for indigenous peoples, Dalit, Madhesi, Muslim and people with disability, reduction of budget to the National Foundation for Development of indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN), delay in appointment of members of the Indigenous Peoples’ Commission and the Tharu Commission. These recent incidences are clear violation of indigenous peoples’ human rights. We, therefore, urge our government for meaningful implementation of UNDRIP and ILO Convention no. 169 in its letter and spirit.

We urge our government, the federal Legislature-Parliament and the main political parties meaningfully implement recommendations made by the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in its Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Nepal issued on 14 November 2018. CEDAW recommended the state party Nepal to amend the Constitution to explicitly recognize the rights of indigenous women, in particular their right to self-determination, in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In Nepal we have more than 123 languages. Most of these languages are indigenous. Some indigenous languages are already extinct and some are at the verge of extinction. On this occasion we urge our government to recognize indigenous languages as official languages in their ancestral lands and as medium of instruction in schools. We urge the media, both the government and private to disseminate news, views and educational programs in indigenous languages.

Let’s all celebrate this moment together to secure our human rights, collective rights.

YassoKanti Bhattachan
Acting Chairperson
National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF)

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INDIGENOUS LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER (ILRC)

Indigenous Learning Resource Center (ILRC) is an initiative of National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF), a premium national NGO dedicated to protect and promote the rights and dignity of indigenous women in Nepal.

The overall objective of the ILRC is to provide an authentic space to improve recognition of the richness of indigenous traditional skills, knowledge and culture and showcase indigenous knowledge and culture based products in Nepal.

This initiative is in progress with the following key activities as the inception of the ILRC:

  1. Providing a rental space to learn, showcase and recognize the richness of indigenous skills, traditional knowledge and culture,
  2. Producing introductory brochures and documentaries of the selected 10 endangered and highly marginalized indigenous peoples of Nepal,
  3. Collecting various printed materials of the selected 10-endangered and highly marginalized indigenous peoples of Nepal, and
  4. Linking indigenous culture into livelihoods by forming producers groups of potential indigenous women Producing, showcasing and selling a wide variety of indigenous knowledge and culture base products, i.e. carvings, weavings, accessories, delicacies, clothes/fabrics, wild honey, vegetable, CHIURI (Diploknema butvracea Roxb) ghee and organic agro-products, etc.

NIWF envisioned the ILRC to be a self sustained full functional resource center dedicated to improve recognition of the richness of indigenous knowledge system and cultures, and showcase indigenous knowledge and culture based products in Nepal

NIWF is planning to construct a building for the ILRC to serve a real ILRC for the next phase. Therefore, NIWF requests to all interested individuals and organizations for their generous supports and collaborations to buy land for self sustained and full function of ILRC in Nepal.

Your generous can make difference in the lives of historically excluded indigenous peoples of Nepal.

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