HOR declares Nepal “untouchability free” country
In yet another major announcement, the reinstated House of Representatives on Sunday unanimously endorsed a proposal to declare Nepal a country “free of untouchability and all kinds of discrimination.”
The legal and constitutional status of the proposal, however, remains unclear.
Moving a proposal of “urgent public importance,” a lawmaker of the CPN (UML), Parshuram Neghi Gurung, called on so-called dalit community—that constitutes 16 percent of the country’s 27 million population—in all processes of making new constitution and ending all sorts of discriminatory policies and practices including so-called untouchability.
The proposal calls for mobilization of special economic programme for education, health and employment for dalits and those under the absolute poverty line to their status.
The constitution of the kingdom of Nepal 1990 prohibits all types of discrimination against citizens on the basis of caste, gender or religion. But activists said a number of discriminatory provisions and laws were still in practice.
Addressing the House session on Sunday, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nemwang said untouchability was a social crime and that the government would introduce a new bill soon to make necessary amendments in the existing Act.
Earlier, the House of Representatives has already declared Nepal a secular state and asked the government to formulate laws so as to issue citizenship certificated to children in the name of their mother. Earlier, the certificate could be issued in the name of father only.