The Center for Reproductive Rights has been active in Nepal for more than two decades, working to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) with a broad coalition of partners through advocacy, litigation, and expert legal support.
Earlier this year, the Center and its local partner, the Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), organized events to engage with government leaders, legal professionals, and other stakeholders on a range of SRHR topics and their applications in Nepal.
The events were:
SRHR Roundtable Among Lawyers and Legal Professionals
This interactive roundtable featured keynote speaker Honorable Sapana Malla Pradham, a Justice with the Supreme Court of Nepal, who spoke about key national and international jurisprudence on SRHR. Participants of this May roundtable agreed to work towards the advancement of SRHR by building, enforcing, and defending legal principles around abortion and to collaborate with the Center and FWLD’s reproductive health legal clinic around key SRHR issues.
Other highlights of the event included:
- Prabhakar Shrestha, the Center’s Senior Legal Advisor for Asia, previewed the major issues, objectives, and key discussion points of the roundtable.
- Prabina Bajracharya, the Center’s Senior Manager for Asia, facilitated a session on the human rights framework of SRHR.
- Sabin Shrestha, Executive Director of FWLD, presented a case study to outline the national laws and policies of SRHR and the status of its implementation.
Roundtable with Government Officials on Assisted Reproduction
This April roundtable, held in Kathmandu, focused on assisted reproduction. Government officials from the Family Welfare Division (FWD) and Department of Health Services, along with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), participated in the event.
Chaired by Dr. Bibek Kumar Lal, Director of FWD and moderated by Kabita Aryal, Chief of the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Section at FWD, the event featured presentations by:
- Prabina Bajracharya, on assisted reproduction through a human rights-based lens.
- Sabin Shrestha, on Nepal’s legal framework on assisted reproduction.
Participants engaged on existing challenges within the assisted reproduction framework and agreed to hold future consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders, including government representatives, the Center, FWLD, and FWD. They will also consult with other stakeholders to draft proposed amendments around assisted reproduction in the existing legal and policy framework.
Plenary Session on Abortion Rights and Access with Obstetricians and Gynecologists
This one-hour plenary session on abortion rights and access was held at the National Conference of the Nepal Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (NESOG) in Kathmandu, Nepal. The session featured a presentation from FWLD’s Sabin Shrestha of a paper titled “Right to Safe Abortion in Nepal: Existing Legal Provisions and Way Forward.”
Other speakers included:
- Honorable Former Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha (keynote speaker)
- Dr. Aruna Karki, Head of Department, Kathmandu Model Hospital
- Dr. Meera Thapa Upadhyaya, Technical Officer, World Health Organization, South-East Asia Region
- Prof. Dr. Meera Gurung, Senior Consultant, Ishan Hospital
- Prabina Bajracharya (moderator)
NESOG members acted to support abortion rights and access by:
- Registering their support with the Ministry for Health and Planning for repealing abortion provisions from the penal code and guaranteeing access to abortion on grounds of the mental and physical health of a pregnant person.
- Reiterating the importance of legal awareness regarding national laws and international human rights law around abortion.
- Adopting a rights-based approach to abortion.
- Sharing their solidarity to reform laws in Nepal to allow for abortion beyond 28 weeks of gestational age.
Shown in photo above: Participants at the roundtable for lawyers and legal professionals. Photo courtesy of FWLD.