Gender-responsive policing in post conflict countries
A seminar on Gender-Responsive Policing in Post-Conflict Countries was organised jointly by the Nepal Police and UNDP through its Global Programme on Advancing Gender Equality in Post-Conflict Settings supported by the Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR). The seminar is one of the first engagements with the Nepal Police by UNDP through its Access to Justice project.
The purpose of this 3-day seminar was to exchange knowledge, experiences and practices on how each country has responded to the challenges posed by sexual and gender-based violence through institutional and police service reforms. Altogether 60, including eight senior police delegates from the Asia Pacific Region - New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and UNPOL - United Nations Mission in Timor participated in this seminar.
Opening the workshop, the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Bhim Bahadur Rawal stated that "ensuring women's rights is a prerequisite for peace and the Comprehensive Peace Accord also recognises this fact."
Addressing the seminar, UNDP Deputy Country Director Mr. Jorn Sorensen stated, "We have seen that even in countries where laws exist to criminalize sexual and gender-based violence, women often fail to get human rights protection due to loopholes in legal mechanisms, low level of commitment, insufficient budget and lack of adequate capacities in the public sector."
During the seminar, participants from Government and civil society organisations working for the prevention and management of SGBV, including a police training NGO from Pakistan actively discussed with the police delegates from the region, the challenges and techniques to overcome gender
based violence and all forms of discrimination against women.
Ms. Roma Bhattacharjea, Senior Gender Advisor from BCPR stated, "this seminar is not only about promoting women into police force or transforming policing services to cater for women's safety. Unless the women are sure about their personal physical security, they cannot meaningfully participate in civic, socio-economic and political life."
Earlier in July, a Letter of Agreement was signed between UNDP and the Nepal Police to engage in capacity building of Nepal Police officers in gender issues, focusing mainly on Gender Based Violence (GBV).
The Nepal Millennium Development Goals Progress Report 2010 says that MDG # 3 (Promote Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women) has improved substantially.
The 2015 target regarding equal access of girls and boys to primary education has already been achieved. It is likely to be ahcieved for secondary education as well. However, progress in tertiary education is unsatisfactory. Women's participation in public life has also improved. Their presence in thr formal labour force is increasing, and their participation in the political domain has grown significantly over the last three years. However certain challenges remain in rural areas due to lack of education and extreme poverty.
The landmark partnership of UNDP with Nepal police ensures increased and improved policies in the protection of women. The initiatives taken by the Nepal police to conduct trainings through UNDP support is expected to bring a bigger level of awareness at all the levels in the police force. More women victims will be able to report and redress their grievances and access justice.