Nepal-Disabled Human Rights Centre (DHRC-Nepal), Kathmandu, Nepal
In 2000 three young disabled friends in Kathmandu decided to take up the issue of human rights for disabled people and by putting their youthful enthusiasm, energy and meagre resources to campaign against discrimination, prejudice and exclusion, the Nepal-Disabled Human Rights Centre was born.
They turned to the medium of radio to transmit the disability rights message nationally and started a print magazine 'Disability Voice' which covered disability issues and campaigns and reported individual cases of abuse and prejudice against disabled people.
DHRC-Nepal also brought into the open difficult and hidden issues such as disability and sexuality and HIV & AIDS, deafness and hard of hearing, and the disabling effects of mental illness. These causes were promoted through hard hitting TV spots and cinema trailers, and most successfully through street theatre founded by disabled actors. One effective early campaign was to make it easy for disabled people to get disability ID cards and travel concessions.
Who can disabled people turn to when they suffer abuse, violence or discrimination? This major concern led DHRC-Nepal to set up a pro bono public interest litigation unit offering immediate legal advice and pursuing these cases in the courts. Nationally they took up the challenge of free education rights for children with disabilities and won a Supreme Court judgement to that effect.
DHRC-Nepal’s aim to get disabled people’s rights enshrined in the constitution and for the government to fully implement the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) that it has ratified led them to engage with grassroots disabled peoples organisations nationally, collecting evidence to make submissions to the Constituent Assembly committees drafting the new Nepali constitution. DHRC-Nepal has also been actively engaged in rewriting outmoded legislation relating to disabled people such as the Disabled Persons Welfare & Protection Act.
Through the recently completed 5 year DFID-funded Disabled People’s Advocacy for Change (DPAC) project partnership the disability human rights message has reached every part of Nepal. DHRC-Nepal’s team of dedicated young professionals, women and men (the majority of whom are disabled) reach out to DPOs throughout the country, drawing strength and sharing skills.
Our latest partnership with DHRC-Nepal as lead partner is in 4 western districts with DPOs who are leading poverty reduction projects to reach 7,500 people. Read more....
Main photo: DHRC's street theatre takes the disability rights message to school children in Tanahun district