Gender Equality, Development and Transitional Justice: The Case of Nepal
Posted: 19 May 2009
Date Written: December 2008
The strong links between transitional justice, development and gender equality have been overlooked and underdeveloped in both theory and practice. Transitions are rare periods of rupture that offer opportunities to reconceive the social meaning of past conflicts in an attempt to reconstruct their present and future effects. The peace-building initiatives unfolding in Nepal encourage a timely examination of the application of the right to development to transitional justice mechanisms. This right embodies much more than economic growth; it is a human rights-based process that aims to empower marginalized groups. In Nepal, this must include women, who not only bore the brunt of the conflict but also continue to suffer systematic discrimination. Many of Nepali women's preexisting problems stem directly from inequality and underdevelopment. This article suggests that transitional justice should go beyond retributive and restorative approaches to consider the economic, social and cultural inequalities that fuel conflicts while setting the foundation for a permanent rights-based development programme that ensures the viability of women's rights in the future. A redistributive approach to transitional justice based on the legal and political process of the right to development is crucial to achieving gender equality in Nepal and avoiding renewed cycles of violence.
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