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Dignified life for Nepal’s freed bonded laborers

Although Nepal has officially ended Haliya slavery system, most of the freed Haliyas still face discrimination and have not realized full sense of freedom. Through an innovative mobile app, a new EU-funded project strives for a positive change in the lives of freed Haliyas.

Who are Haliyas?

The term Haliya refers to a person who is an agricultural bonded labourer in Nepal. Traditionally they have worked on another person’s land, in a slave-like conditions with little or no pay. The Haliya system has been particularly ripe in the farwestern parts of Nepal.

In 2008, the Haliya system was officially abolished by the Nepalese government. Yet, freed Haliyas are still commonly discriminated in the social structure and they are not able to enjoy participation in democratic processes.

The new 2015 Nepali constitution and recently implemented federal structure in the country  open a window of fruitful advocacy opportunities for freed Haliyas, as well as other discriminated groups.

6th of September is celebrated as the Freed Haliya Day in Nepal. Read a blog post regarding the day: After 13 years, Janaki Lawad could soon be enlisted as a freed Haliya

Two people walk on the village road carrying baskets on their head
Mimosa Hedberg/Felm

What is project ADHICAR?

Enhancing Dignified Life of freed Haliyas through Collective Advocacy and Human Rights Campaign for Democratic Political Participation in Nepal (ADHICAR) is a three-year project funded by the European Union.

In the project, four organizations – two European and two Nepali – are partnering up to contribute to the joint efforts to combat discrimination of various disadvantaged groups in Nepal – namely freed Haliyas, ex-bonded labour, including persons with disabilities and women.

The project aims to produce verified data about the economic, social and cultural rights situation of freed Haliyas, female Haliyas who face double burden of discrimination, and people with disabilities. This data will be gathered trough an innovative mobile app and published in Yearbook publications to highlight the findings.

ESCR yearbook 2021 was released in March 2022, presenting an overview of the rights situation of freed Haliyas in 15 municipalities of the five districts of Sudurpaschim province of Nepal. The data represents 2567 households of the project working areas. One of the key findings of the report is that only one third of the respondents have received rehabilitation package from the government and even among those who have received them, only 15% think that the packages are sufficient. The COVID-19 pandemic situation made things worse also in terms of education, as distance or virtual learning was feasible for only 1% of the respondents. The report shows that the rights situation of the freed-bonded laborers is far from being realized.

The information gathered will be used to advocate for freed Haliyas’ rights and entitlements. In addition, the project aims to increase the political representation and participation of freed Haliyas. Our goal is to strengthen the voices of the civil society and empower freed Haliyas to do evidence-based advocacy to fight for a more inclusive and plural civil society.

The project builds on local ownership, and aligns with the objectives of local authorities, supporting and building the capacity of the local government structures. Main activities of the project will take place in the Far-West Sudurpashchim Pradesh province in Nepal, in five different districts, covering 10 municipalities and 5 rural municipalities.

District      Municipality
Dadeldhura district Amargadhi Municipality

Navduraga Rural Municipality

Parshuram Municipality

Baitadi district Dashrath Chand Municipality

Patan Municipality

Dogada Kedar R. Municipality                                                              Surnaya Rural Municipality

Doti district Jorayal Rural Municipality

Shikhar Municipality

Sail Rural Municipality

Bajhang district Jayaprithivi Municipality

Thalara Rural Municipality

Kanchanpur district Suklaphanta Municipality

Krishanpur Municipality

Bhimdatta Municipality

Partners and funding

The project is funded by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). The project is implemented by a consortium of four organisations:

 

Contact:

Umakant Chaudhary, Team Leader of the project, Mobile: +977 9801284479

 

Project Management Unit office: 

Dhangadhi-5, Hasanpur, Kailali, Nepal

Nepalin EU-rahoitteisen ihmisoikeushankkeen logo, jossa kaikkien järjestökumppaneiden logot.

 

This website has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of the project partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.