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Civil Society Forum Workshop on Issues of Social Inclusion in Constitution

Venue : Hotel Himalayan, Kupondol, Lalitpur
Time : 19 and 20, February 2009

Remarks :

SIRF, along with National Coalition against Racial Discrimination (NCARD) – a NGO working on issues of exclusion and discrimination, jointly organized a two days Civil Society Forum Workshop on “Issues of Social Inclusion in Constitution” on 19 and 20 February 2009. The workshop aimed to bring together representatives from – Women; Dalits; Adibasi Janajati; Madheshi; other excluded groups including Muslims, Regionally Marginalised communities, Physically Challenged, Third Sex; and non-excluded communities - to discuss and recommend issues of social inclusion in constitution making. In addition, the workshop aimed to:
 
·          Share the emerging issues identified by researches that were funded by Social Inclusion Research Fund (SIRF)
 
·          To share the issues raised and presented by individuals representing civil society of excluded groups that has been gathered by NCARD.
 
·          To provide the inputs on the issues pertaining to the exclusion of excluded groups (Ethnic, Dalit, Madheshi, Women and other excluded/minority groups) that need to be addressed in the constitution.
 
The program had been attended by around 370 participants who included CA member, Political Party Leader, Academician, Human Right Activist, Media, Lawyers, SIRF Researchers and other Stakeholders. The program had been chaired by Ms. Pushpa Shrestha, ISC Chairman of SIRF. The key note speakers of preliminary session included: i) Mr. Dhaman Nath Dhungana, Former Speaker and Constitutional Expert and ii) Mr Padma Ratna Tuladhar, Senior Human Right Activist. The other panel member included Ms. Sumitra Gurung Manadhar, Chairwoman NCARD and Mr. Mohan Das Manadhar, Senior Adviser of SIRF. Ms. Shrestha, started the session with welcome note.
 
Mr. Dhungana expressed that the workshop is very important and useful to understand and address the social inclusion issues by state. However, those who are excluded need to pursue own right regarding language, culture and ethnicity. He emphasized that the constitution making process should not limit to political parties but should extend to individual. Further, he said that we need to map out the structure of new nation. The difference in ideas needs to coverage into common point which out hurting the each other’s right. He added that the individual’s rights should not be limited in word but it should be effectively implemented via various state organs. Further, he added that the campaign against all discriminatory laws should be launched. [Link of Mr. Dhungana’s Speech].
 
Mr. Tuladhar explained the event as important momentous on the social inclusion issues of Nepal. He explained the importance of the constitution and the past constitution process developed without the anxiety of people which ultimately lead to conflict and consequently to Constitution Assembly. Further, he added on the extent of social inclusion prevailed in Nepal and explained that the participants of the people are still nominal. So he stressed that we have the opportunity either to pen out voice in the current constitution building process. [Link of Mr. Tuladhar’s Speech].
Further, Mr. Manadhar gave a brief introduction about SIRF [ Power Point Presentation Mr. Manandhar]; and Ms. Manandhar gave a brief introduction about NCARD.
 
In the program, the findings of four SIRF funded researches were presented. They were as follow:
 
Language Diversity in Nepal: Situation and Policy Planning
By Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadava,
 
Social Inclusion/ Exclusion in Relation to Tharu Indigenous Knowledge and Practices
By Gopal Dahit
 
Citizenship Problem in Madhesi Dalits
By Udhav Sigdel
 
Social Impact of Armed Conflict in Nepal: Cause and Impact
By Anjana Shakya
 
Likewise, Mr. Malla K Sundar, Board member of NCARD, presented on “Process of Constitution Making in Nepal”.
 
In second session of first day, there were group discussions on six thematic areas namely: Woman, Dalits, Adhibashi Janajati, Madheshi, Muslims and Others.
 
In the first session of second day, each thematic group presented the concerns to be incorporated in constitution in front of the panel consisting CA member of major Political Parties and Human Right Activist. The member of Panel included:
 
Suresh Ale Magar, CA Member, United Nepal Communist Party Maoist
Binod Pahari, CA Member, United Nepal Communist Party Maoist
Sapana Malla Pradhan, CA Member, Nepal Communist Party (UML)
Gagan Thapa, CA Member, Nepali Congress
Dhaman Nath Dhungaga, Former Speaker and Constitutional Expert.
 
In the second session, the panel member expressed their view.
 
Ms. Pradhan emphasized on the importance of people’s participation in the constitution making process of Nepal and requested the civil society to send their suggestions to respective ten subject committees of CA. She added that the constitution could not include all the suggestion because of the limitation but such suggestion could be strongly addressed as the fundamental rights. Further, she said that the country should adopt the proportionate election system on the basis of religions, culture, traditional and custom.
 
Mr. Pahari acknowledged the sensitive issues raised by different thematic groups and assured for fear treatment on all issues. He added on the inclusion issues of Aadibashi Janajati, Dalit, Madhesi, and other OBC.
 
Mr. Thapa acknowledged the lack of discussion and dialogue between intra party creates on various issue of state restructuring and social inclusion.
 
Mr. Ale Magar emphasized that the diversity of Nepal should be the basis for federalism. He further added that the hegemony of ruler and suppressor has to be acknowledged by the CA member during constitution building process.
 
The chair ended the program with vote of thanks.
 
The outcome of the workshop had submitted to the Chairpersons of the subject committees of the Constituent Assembly for collective understanding and action. [ The Link for Outcome of Workshop]
 
CA Work Schedule as per Constituent Assembly Regulations, 2065 (2008), Rule 149
 
List of Participants

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