Isha Mehmood

Isha Mehmood (South-Asia Partnership in Nepal): Isha graduated in 2007 magna cum laude with a BA in communication and a BS in sociology from Virginia Tech. During her undergraduate studies, she studied abroad in Cambodia where she met children who lost limbs in landmine explosions. This inspired an interest in conflict studies and human rights law. Isha interned at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. At the time of her fellowship, Isha was studying at American University’s School of Public Affairs, pursuing a Master’s degree in justice, law and society.



Gun Laws and Domestic Violence: What’s the Connection?

24 Jun

It should come as no surprise that women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence. Even less surprising, they are often the victims when domestic abuse escalates to death.

In fact, women are three times more likely to die violently due to one factor alone: if a gun is present in the house. In many cases, the crime is committed by a spouse or partner-someone with a prior history of domestic abuse. Gun control laws and domestic violence laws are rarely harmonized, creating a loophole that allows people with a history of domestic abuse to purchase firearms or maintain licenses for those that they already own.

Preventing situations like this, and increasing awareness of this issue, are the main goals of IANSA’s “Disarming Domestic Violence” campaign, which I will be working on for the remainder of the summer.

"Disarming Domestic Violence" campaign launch

In the first international campaign of its kind, IANSA and 85 partner organizations around the world, including SAP-Nepal, are making the connection between gun control and domestic violence. Out of nearly 900 million small arms in the world today, more than 75 percent are in the hands of private individuals-most of them men-putting women in these households at a significant risk.

Last Friday was the launch date for the campaign here in Nepal. SAP-Nepal, collaborating with SASA Net Nepal and Yatra, organized a bicycle rally to launch the campaign. More than 61 people (including myself!) participated in the rally, biking between four major political party offices and delivering a memorandum of policy suggestions to top party officials.

The party representatives who took the memorandum with appreciation and signed a commitment to “disarm domestic violence” included: Mr. Narayan Prasad Daha, Central Committee Member and CA Member of the UCPN-Maoist party; Mr. Nanda Kishore Yadav, Office Secretary of the Madhesee Youth Forum – Nepal (MJF); Mr. Ram Krishna Tamrakar, former minister and Center Committee Member of the Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) party; and Mr. Ishwore Pokhrel, former minister and General Secretary of Nepali Congress (NC).

They agreed to bring up the issue, and the policy suggestions, at a future legislative meeting.

Supporters present policy recommendations to a Maoist party official

Supporters present policy recommendations to a Maoist party official

Mr. Ram Krishna Tamrakar, former minister and Center Committee Member of the Unified Marxist Leninist party signs the commitment to "disarm domestic violence"

Mr. Ram Krishna Tamrakar, former minister and Center Committee Member of the Unified Marxist Leninist party signs the commitment to "disarm domestic violence"

More photos from the event can be viewed here. Also, look forward some of my video footage in the coming week!

Posted By Isha Mehmood

Posted Jun 24th, 2009