Human Rights
Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Children
UNIFEM: Introduction
Difficulties faced by Citizens due to Armed Conflict
Specific Adverse Impact on Women and Children
organisations Working on Women and Peace in Nepal
Human Rights and Women
Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Children


In February 1996, Maoist rebels started a 'People's War' in Nepal, demanding social, economic, and political reform. Since that time, the Maoists sought to achieve their demands through armed conflict, which was met by violent government backlash. The resulting insurgency, led to an estimated 13,200 deaths and thousands of displaced individuals and families. Thousands of people have been victims of trauma, forced displacement, and violence.

The plight of women and girls is more severe than that of their male counterparts due to gender specific violence and inequalities exacerbated by the conflict.

Gender specific violence led to immeasurable suffering of Nepali women and girls during the insurgency. Rape, sexual abuse, and torture by both warring sides were widespread. Sexual violence was used as a tool to punish women for their alleged connection with either side of the conflict. Women, impregnated with children conceived in rape, had little recourse to safe abortion services.

Women were often forced to give birth in unsanitary settings because health posts were regular targets of destruction. Women and girls have been trafficked out of conflict-ridden areas only to find themselves victims of sexual and domestic slavery in other parts of Nepal and India. The number of those who have been infected with HIV and AIDS as a result of sexual exploitation during the conflict is yet unknown.

The insurgency also exacerbated gender inequalities, deeply rooted in traditional religious and social practices. With increasingly insecure food supply, women and girls' health was threatened by inequitable food distribution, resulting in malnutrition and severe anemia. Girls' educational opportunities, already less than those of boys, further diminished because of the need for girls to enter the workforce in order to help support the family. Girls with little education and no skills were often forced into exploitative jobs.

Mothers faced particular hardship. As men and young people migrated out of the country to avoid the conflict and seek opportunities abroad, married women were left behind to care for children and the elderly, creating a heavy burden of responsibility. Moreover as Nepali citizenship can only be passed down through the father, mothers who gave birth to children of displaced, missing or killed men were unable to confer citizenship on their children, creating a generation of 'stateless children'. Though the House of Representatives on May 30, 2006 has endorsed a landmark proposal to ensure a woman's right to confer citizenship to her children, this it is yet to be reflected in legislation.

Gender inequalities exacerbated by the conflict also significantly burdened internally displaced people including women. Due to discriminatory laws related to property and welfare, women became particularly vulnerable when they were driven away from their homes or when a husband or close male relative was killed or injured. Even those entitled to compensation as a result of the loss of a husband who was, for example, a police officer, were often unaware of their legal entitlement.

Increasing number of widows found themselves without land or income. Women who were compelled to leave their homes faced tremendous difficulty finding decent employment because of lack of resources and skills. In order to survive and support their families, displaced women were often forced to work in exploitative conditions, subjecting them to abuse and trauma. Despite all the suffering faced by Nepali women during the conflict they are glaringly absent from national and international peace efforts.

A November 2004 scan of consultants working on peace issues in Nepal revealed that all the two hundred consultants were men. In the context of the changed political situation in Nepal, on May 30, 2006 the House of Representatives unanimously endorsed a landmark proposal reserving at least 33 percent of posts in the state mechanism for women. But this has not been reflected in practice.

The government did not include any women in all the Committees formed right after this declaration. Women were even excluded from the Committee formed for drafting the Interim Constitution compelling them to come to the streets. Without addressing the gendered dimensions of the conflict and without women's direct and active engagement in the peace process there is little hope that a meaningful and sustainable peace can be achieved.

Source: UNIFEM, UNITED NATIONS Development Fund for Women, "A Rapid Scan-organisations Working on Women and Peace in Nepal", 2006
External link
United Nations Development Fund for Woman
RAOnline PDF Download RAOnline
Source: UNIFEM
A Rapid Scan
organisations Working on Women and Peace
in Nepal
Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Children
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Source: UNICEF
Basic Education
UNICEF report: Situation Analysis on the Children and Women in Nepal 2006
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Source: UNICEF
UNICEF report: Situation Analysis on the Children and Women in Nepal 2006

1.7 MB PDF-File
Source: UNICEF
The Lifecycle Perspective
UNICEF report: Situation Analysis on the Children and Women in Nepal 2006
1.3 MB PDF-File
more information
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
UNICEF report: Situation Analysis on the Children and Women in Nepal 2006
Women in Nepal: Social Status
INSEC Violence against Women during Armed Conflict