On the occasion of Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) Nepal’s 25th anniversary, we relfected on our partnership over the years.
Our journey in solidarity to advance gender equality and women’s freedom, started at the 2007 Women’s Leadership Institute, when WOREC’s Smriti challenged the way we looked at women’s rights activism. Participants from Africa, Latin America and Asia were tasked with documenting women’s rights violations along with their organizations. Each research, except for one, focused on women’s armed conflict experiences and how governments should respond. WOREC Nepal instead looked at strengthening and protection of the often underserved women human rights defenders (WHRDs). Since then, Isis-WICCE’s work has had a strong focus on self-care and healing the healers of conflict-affected women in order to sustain the labored women’s movement.
Together, Isis-WICCE and WOREC, have since co-hosted subsequent Women’s Leadership Institutes, gathering WHRDs from Asia and Africa in Kathmandu and Bangkok. During these cross-cultural exchanges Isis-WICCE and the alumna witnessed and learned from the Nepali brand of activism to protest diverse forms of violence and demand action. This ranged from a celebratory gay pride march, to an angry demonstration over domestic violence to heated mass debate over Dalit rights and constitutional reform. From WOREC and our sisters in Nepal, we learnt new ways to express our activism, the importance of respecting our own sense of spirituality and the indivisibility of women’s rights.
Since then, Isis-WICCE has partnered with WOREC in high-level advocacy, to influence the Human Rights Council and prompt action following the universal periodic review of Nepal. We have also collaborated to influence discourse and responses on women, peace and security at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. All of this is informed by our independent and joint research on access to justice for survivors of sexual violence along with other issues that respond to women’s needs in conflict and post-conflict. In Nepal, this research was possible due to WOREC’s wide network of WHRDs and the diverse women’s movement the organization supports.
Ours is a mutually affirming and beneficial relationship that Isis-WICCE takes great pride in. We congratulate WOREC on the achievements of the past 25 years and look forward to continuing our work in solidarity toward gender equality and the empowerment of women across the globe.