Following the 10-year conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the government of Nepal, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections signalled the start of the peace and recovery process. Security provision and enabling access to justice are generally seen as core functions of the state, as well as fundamental building blocks for good governance, stability and socioeconomic development. The development of an adequately functioning, accessible and accountable security and justice system is therefore a critical component of the international community’s support to Nepal’s postconflict reconstruction process. At present, the EU and six key donor countries are providing ongoing support to the strengthening of the security and justice systems in Nepal. Sometimes termed justice and security sector reform (JSSR), donor support in Nepal comprises the following thematic focus areas: improving police effectiveness; establishing civilian oversight of the security forces; and strengthening the legal framework of the security and justice sectors as a whole.
If investments in the security and justice sectors are to take hold and be sustained in the long term, these reforms should contend with and adequately address the diverse security needs of Nepalese communities and citizens. Yet, four years after the peace process began, Nepali women, men, communities and the private sector continue to experience a multitude of distinct and often overlapping security threats. Current analysis by International Alert highlights the following five broad areas of security concerns in Nepal: an increase in armed groups; proliferation of small arms and light weapons; rise of crime (theft, physical assault and drunken disorder); political strikes (bandhs); and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Among women in Nepal, sexual and domestic violence is identified and perceived as the biggest risk to their security and one that is yet to be tackled effectively by the security and justice sector. The purpose of this case study is therefore to provide further insights into women’s experiences in three different districts with the provision of security and justice in Nepal. In addition, it offers a number of recommendations to international donors, particularly the EU, to ensure that the security and justice sectors in Nepal become more responsive to women’s security concerns and priorities. The analysis and key findings are based on research conducted between April and May 2010 by Alert and Shanti Malika, a national-level network of Nepali women’s organisations.