| 10-11-2017

International delegation pays visit to monitor progress of right to food violations

Delegates from FIAN International, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal visited emblematic cases in the south-west of Nepal, to assess progress, following years of coordinated mobilization and advocacy efforts.

International delegates coming from across Asia and Europe made a three-day visit to observe three emblematic cases -located in Banke, Bardiya and Kanchanpur districts- that FIAN Nepal has been following closely for the last years. From access to land and to decent housing of traditional peoples, to the impacts of human-made constructions on Nepali communities living at the border, the cases visited illustrated some of the challenges to the realization of the right to food and nutrition in the region.

In their visit to a Gandharva community - Dalits widely known for mastering traditional music, but also for facing appalling discrimination,  the delegates observed that the government has met its promise and the community has been provided with land certificates and decent housing after years of struggle. In addition, the government has been organizing skill development programs -such as organic agriculture, knitting, tailoring, etc. The community, however, pointed out that more actions are needed to fully realize their right to food and nutrition.

As for the areas in Banke district, affected by the impact of floods, highly exacerbated by the construction of     the Laxmanpur Dam and Kalkalwa Afflux by India , the construction of a barrier to stop the floods, is ongoing – so far 5km. While dwelling communities say they feel “more secure”, they regretted that building this barrier “is going slowly”. According to the communities’ estimates, the overall construction of this “protective” barrier will take approximately 10 years. That might be too long, considering the deep impacts the floods have on their lives and livelihoods every year during monsoon periods.

Located in India, elephants and other wild animals living in the Dudhwa National Park reserve often cross the border and enter Nepali territory destroying the crops and houses of communities in their wake. Thanks to the mobilization of communities and the support of FIAN Nepal, an electric fence is being built, which will hopefully ensure the protection of dwelling communities.

The cases of Dudhwa National Park and the Laxmanpur Dam illustrate the     human costs when States do not meet their human rights obligations beyond borders – commonly referred to as “extraterritorial obligations”. In the view of the affected people: “If India led us to this situation, they should clearly make sure they solve the problem they created themselves”.

The visits,     which served as a follow-up of last year’s research mission, concluded with an exchange of views of the delegates on the cases visited, as well as discussions on how to strengthen human rights work in South Asia.

See     photo album on the Gandharva community.

For media enquiries, please contact     delrey[at]fian.org