A Statement by WLUML, Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! and the International Human Rights Defenders
The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) network, the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! and International Coalition on Women Human Rights Defenders Coalition are deeply concerned to learn about the recent death of 28 year old Ms. Laxmi Bohara on the 6th June 2008 in the Kanchanpur District of Nepal. Ms. Bohara died after she had been severely beaten by her husband, Tek Raj Bohara to whom she had been married for 12 years, and her mother-in-law, who then forced her to take poison. Bohara was a member of the National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD), as well as a health volunteer and Secretary of Women’s Empowerment Center in the Kanchanpur District.
According to reports received by colleagues in Nepal, prior to her murder, Ms. Bohara had repeatedly been thrown out of the house by her husband, who, along with her mother-in-law, frequently beat her. Based on information received from NAWHRD in Nepal, Ms. Bohara’s murder occurred in the Kanchanpur district which has high cases of domestic violence, numbering at least two to three cases a day. The status of women in this particular area appears to be insecure and lowly – with women frequently being dispelled from their homes at the onset of menstruation following the tradition of ‘Chaupadi.’ The work of women’s rights activists like Ms. Bohara is not always well-received with activists and women human rights defenders facing death threats, attacks and harassment. In fact, Ms. Bohara’s work as an activist was a major source of contention between her and her husband and in-laws due to the interaction with men and women it entailed.
The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women!, WLUML, and the International Coalition on Women Human Rights Defenders express our collective concern over the murder of this human rights defender. We urge you to address the following issues:
- Take steps to ensure independent and thorough investigations in which alleged perpetrators are brought to justice in a timely fashion;
- Ensure that Ms. Bohara’s surviving children are well and safe;
- Immediate assurance that steps are being taken to end the intimidation and harassment of all other Women Human Rights Defenders who are fighting for social justice and to ensure that Women Human Rights Defenders will not face further violence and threats;
- Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 9 on the Right to Remedy/Justice for violation of Rights;
- Take adequate measures to address all forms of domestic violence throughout Nepal.