South-South Cooperation for promoting Gender Responsive Policing
The UNDP Nepal Country Office in coordination with the UNDP Country Office in Afghanistan received a delegation comprising of Senior Officials from the Ministry of Interior, Afghan Women's Network and Civil Society to learn about Democratic Policing Policies and Practices with an added focus on Community Policing activities including Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and responses.
The study tour in the form of South-South Cooperation was coordinated by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and UNDP Nepal. The other important parties to this project were Mr. Denvor Fleming, the Department of Justice Representative, US Embassy and Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police- Surendra Bahadur Shah along with Additional Police Commissioner and Metropolitan Police Office.
The team led by Ahmad Zaki, National Coordinator of the UNDP Afghanistan Democratic Policing Project visited Charikot- district headquarters of Dolakha district in the central region of Nepal. The delegates participated in the multi-stakeholder consultation and observed the roles of Chief District Officer, Police, Women Development Office, NGOs, media and the paralegals on GBV prevalence, responses and prevention.
UNDP Afghanistan has successfully started a small scale democratic policing project in Kabul. The US Government is now channeling funds to UNDP to scale up this initiative. As a first learning step, a series of regional cooperation and exposure trips to more advanced societies are currently being organised in which Nepal is one of the destinations.
The visiting delegation met with several Government representatives; the Inspector General of the Nepal Police (IGP) as well as several high ranking police officials. The team also visited UNDP Nepal office, where several staff from different units exchanged views with the delegation.
The team shared the view that Afghanistan and Nepal share somewhat similar political histories and gradual democratization. Both are located in challenging geo-political locations which place them inherently under disadvantaged conditions. Both the teams shared the felt need of working closely with the civil society organisations to address human rights challenges, including those of GBV.
The major challenges common to both the countries to address GBV issues are low level of awareness about human rights among women and their economic dependency upon men. In terms of gender inequality, while Nepali women enjoy a higher degree of mobility, they still face difficult challenges of GBV stemming from dowry, trafficking and other historically persisting practices such as caste-based discrimination, belief in witch-craft and traditional social practices imposed upon women at the cost of their health.
The police offices in both the countries are currently making serious efforts to democratize their workforce through human rights education, gender-awareness trainings, civil society interaction and community policing. Further exchange of information and support is anticipated during the Afghanistan International Conference on Democratic Policing to which Nepal Police and UNDP Nepal delegates are being invited. The visiting delegation expressed their great appreciation for the coordination and support extended by UNDP Nepal to facilitate their visit.