Susan Risal

Susan RisalSusan Risal

Susan is a peace practitioner based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is a Chief Executive Officer of Nagarik Aawaz (Citizen’s Voices)-a peace-building organization in Nepal which works with conflict-affected youth and women. In 2003, she joined Nagarik Aawaz as an Admin/Finance Officer. She became a Program Manager at Nagarik Aawaz in 2009, and was later promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2011. Susan holds two Masters Degrees: Masters in Business Administration from Tribhuvan University of Nepal and Masters in Applied Conflict Transformation Studies from Pannasastra University of Cambodia. Currently, she is a PhD Fellow of Applied Conflict Transformation Studies, which is a collaborative programme between Center for Peace Studies and Pannasatra University, Cambodia. Her PhD Research topic is “Defining Justice & Dignity through Gendered Peacebuilding: A case study analysis of women of gendered based violence during war time era of Nepal’.
Susan first became interested in peace-building through her experiences at Nagarik Aawaz. Listening to the many stories of hardship and suffering of the conflict-affected communities made her want to continue her work in peace with commitment and dedication. This also led Susan in doing Master in Applied Conflict Transformation Studies and PhD in Applied Conflict Transformation Studies so that she could gain theoretical knowledge in peace-building, to compliment her practical knowledge, and contribute that knowledge to improve lives of conflict-affected people. Susan is very passionate about the issues of conflict affected communities, particularly the issues of women. She is a long term peace practitioner/advocate who believes that every member of the community has the right to live a peaceful life with social justice and dignity.


Defining Justice & Dignity through Gendered Peacebuilding: A case study analysis of women of gendered based violence during war time era of Nepal

After having Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in November 2006, Nepal entered into the post settlement era (Government of Nepal, 2006). The prolonged phase of political transition has led to increased anger and frustration among women who survived gendered based violence (especially the women who were raped and physically assaulted) during the Nepalese armed conflict, 1996-2006 as they are still waiting for justice decade later as well. The Citizen’s relief, compensation and economic assistance procedure (Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, 2009) formulated after the war does not recognize women who were raped and physically assaulted in the category of conflict victims, and also the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, (Government of Nepal, 2014) does not have its explicit plan to address such a large amount of human rights violation . Even after 11 years after the CPA, the transitional mechanisms such as Truth and Reconciliation, and Investigation on Enforced Disappearance Commissions formulated in February 2015 have not been able to implement their activity effectively. The prolonged transition phase, changing political landscape of the country, emerging conflicts and the two devastating earthquakes on April 25 and May 12, 2015 also side-lined the issue of gendered based violence in the war time era.
Using a critical theory framework and case study methodology, the primary goal of this research is to understand how the women who faced gendered based violence during the war time era define dignity and justice from their own lived experience and consequently, their needs for reparations. Ultimately, resulting intervention by presenting these women’s voice and needs to the Truth-seeking commissions, other government bodies, and organizations working with conflict affected women. This research’s findings will also expand the body of knowledge and best practices for reconciliation in contexts where gender-based violence has been used as a weapon of war.

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