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Significant EU funding granted for Felm to advance human rights in Nepal – an innovative mobile app to be used as a tool

Photo: Rastriya Haliya Mukti Samaj Federation Nepal.

EU joins hands with Felm-led consortium to improve human rights of Haliyas, freed bonded labourers in Far West Nepal.

For the first time in its history, Felm has received project funding from the European Union Delegation to Nepal, and the grant will be used to promote human rights in Nepal. The project budget is 463,900 euros.

The three-year human rights project seeks to promote the human rights of liberated bonded laborers, Haliyas. Freed Haliyas are a discriminated minority living in Far-West Nepal who were freed from slavery in 2008, but their situation is still weak and many live in poverty.

Before, Haliyas worked in the fields of their masters without pay, and they lived merely on food and loans provided by their lords. Today, livelihood opportunities for freed Haliyas are very limited as they do not have their own land to farm. They also experience discrimination because of their status.

“In all its work, Felm emphasizes non-discrimination, participation and fairness. The EU funding to improve the human rights of vulnerable people is a tool for change,” Katri Leino-Nzau, the Development Cooperation Manager of Felm says.

The project will gather up-to-date information to assess how the human rights of ex-bonded laborers are realized in the society. The data will be gathered with the mobile application and compiled into human rights reports. It will also be taken as a basis for advocacy campaigns to improve the situation of freed Haliyas. In particular, the project focuses on the advancement of women and people with disabilities.

“Disclosure of problematic human rights situations gives authorities an important indication of where they should focus with their decision-making. Cooperation with skilled local partners is key”, Leino-Nzau adds.

The project is being implemented in collaboration with four organizations: Felm, the Lutheran World Federation and the Nepalese Campaign for Human Rights and Social Transformation Nepal (CAHURAST) and Rastriya Haliya Mukti Samaj Federation Nepal (RHMSFN). The corona crisis has slowed down the initiation of the project.

Felm has worked in Nepal since the 1970s with the country’s most vulnerable people, including people with disabilities and Dalits.

Defending and promoting human rights and democratization is an integral part of the EU-Nepal cooperation. Since 2003, the EU has been supporting civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Nepal. This new project is one of the 98 projects on human rights and democratisation that the EU has funded in Nepal so far.

The European Union is promoting and defending human rights and democratisation globally in more than 40 countries and it supports civil society organisations and human rights defenders in more than 100 countries.

Contact details:

Roosa Rantala, Manager, Development cooperation, Felm, tel. +358 40 6267 444,