Kathmandu, November 16, 2016: Basanti Chaudhary of Nepal has won the N-Peace Award for this year.
Along with Chaudhary, 8 other women from Asia have also won the award. Winners were chosen through online voting followed by a rigorous Selection Panel process. The award recognizes peace champions in the region and celebrate their contributions to women, peace and security.
Chaudhary is the Chair of Kamaiya Pratha Unmulan Samaj (KPUS), an organization of ex-Kamaiaya (bonded labourers), to ex-Kamaiaya and for ex-Kamaiaya, which stands for representation in decision making and influencing the decision making process by beneficiaries is much as possible. It is a 3,400 member organization working for 2,900 households of freed Kamaiyas living across 15 VDCs of Kailali. She has launched social movements, community-based and district-based campaigns on issues related to domestic violence, Kamlari abuse, discrimination and more. This is meant to raise awareness, bring issues to public notice, shape opinions, get media coverage, awaken the authorities, human rights groups, womens rights groups, and thus to bring pressure to bear on authorities to act. KPUS also runs empowerment training targeting ex-Kamaiyas for broadening their information base, informing them about rights, issues of violence and abuse, remedial ways and processes, responses, etc.
Chaudhary’s parents were former Kamaiyas. They sent her to the landlord resident of the same village as a bonded labourer when she was approximately 5/6 years old, which she does not remember very well. She used to go to school from the house of the landlord from grades 1 to 6, but could not continue her education.
Though Kamaiya and Kamlari system were legally abolished in Nepal, the plight of the ex-kamaiya and ex-kamlaris still continuous and their struggle for their justifiable rehabilitation is still on. And the role of Chaudhary in capacitating them, raising awareness on the issue, interaction with concerned stakeholders has been instrumental.
The N-Peace Awards was first launched in 2011 to recognize and profile women and men leaders and peacebuilders creating change at the grassroots to national levels in Asia. Coordinated by the N-Peace Network across Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, the Award shines a light on women and men who demonstrate leadership in building peace and empowering their communities.
The winners this year will be felicitated amidst the N-Peace Awards Gala to be held in February 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.