Ms. Rita Mahato and Ms. Dev Kumari Mahara are members of the Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) in Sihara district, Nepal and defenders of the rights of women and Dalits. After documenting two cases of rape in April and May, 2007 and providing assistance to the victims in accessing justice through the registration of the cases with police and the provision of medical and legal support, Ms. Mahato received threats of death, rape, kidnapping, shooting and beating. These threats have come from members of the Govindapur community identified as Mr. Binod Balbar Chaudhary, Mr. Ramu Yadv, Mr. Kishori Raya, Mr. Ram Bharosh Yadav, and Mr. Dinesh Yadav. Ram Bharosh Yadav and Dinesh Yadav have both been identified as perpetrators of rape. This community is reported to blame Ms. Rita Mahato for calling the police to arrest a person who had committed rape as the community had decided to settle the matter internally.
In addition, on the night of June 2, 2007, the WOREC office was attacked with bricks by unknown assailants later identified as the perpetrators of the rape of Nepur Davi Yadav. Bricks were then thrown at office staff when they went outside to investigate. Though none of the staff were seriously injured, they felt as though their lives were being threatened. On the evening of the attack, police informed WOREC that they would be unable to come to the site until the next morning citing security concerns. The incident was registered at the local police station, but an investigation has yet to be opened and the police have not acted on the WOREC staff’s request for protection.
WOREC has been working in Sihara for the past four years with a focus on the promotion of the rights of marginalized groups including women and Dalits. The organizations activities include documenting cases of rape and providing legal and other forms of support to victims.
Letter by Catherine Morris sent on June 20, 2007.