Nepal is a geographically rich country, landlocked between two giants – China and India. The country consists of three geographic regions; the plains Terai region along the southern border, the hills region, and mountainous Himalayan range in the North.
At the same time, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and it has experienced turbulent political changes over the past decades. Current parliamentary democracy evolved from being a Hindu Kingdom to secular federal Republic through a decade of armed Maoist insurgency between 1995 and 2006.
Despite the fact that the conflict between the government and rebels was officially ended by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006, the country still finds itself struggling with weak governance, political instability and impunity for human rights abuses committed during the civil war.
Only recently (2015) did the Nepalese Constitution come into effect, replacing an Interim Consitution that had been in place since 2007. In total, Nepal has enacted 7 Constitutions since 1948. The difference stages of legal limbo prevented the adoption and effective execution of legislation that would address reconciliation and other key issues.
Moreover, the country is challenged by many socio-economic issues such as extreme poverty, unemployment, high rate of illiteracy and poor health conditions. Its extraordinary geographical and geo-physical environment has influenced migration flows streaming into the area, and created a unique mosaic of diverse ethnic, religious and linguistic communities.
Therefore Nepal is a multi-ethnic and multicultural country with a deeply rooted patriarchal and caste system of social hierarchy, discrimination, marginalization as well as exploitation of social, ethnic, gender and religious minorities.
Furthermore various forms of violence against women and children such as witchcraft and modern slavery remain a sad part of every day’s reality in Nepal. Nepal has been a source country for trafficking men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude.