The families of the missing drive every aspect of NEFAD’s work. Through a combination of community organizing and evidence-based activism, NEFAD has identified the key challenges and demands of victims of enforced disappearances. Below are NEFAD’s program areas that directly address victims’ needs:
Truth and Justice
Above all, families want to know what happened to their disappeared loved one. NEFAD amplifies the voices of the victims at the national level by representing district and regional victims organizations in Kathmandu.
NEFAD also has supported district affiliations in helping rural families understand the truth and reconciliation process. This includes encouraging families to register complaints with the commissions, and building the capacity of district associations to advocate at the local, regional, and national level for their rights.
Livelihood and Economic Support
“Justice means living with dignity and seeing their daily needs fulfilled” -Ram Kumar Bhandari
Overwhelmingly, victims identified livelihood and economic support as an integral part of transitional justice.
- 79% of families of the disappeared list “economic issues” and “poverty’ as a primary need arising from the disappearance
- For many families, the disappeared husband or father was also the family’s primary breadwinner
- Women whose husband was disappeared often lack legal recourse to claim land or inheritance unless they register their missing husband as “deceased”
NEFAD addresses questions of livelihood through programs and events promoting sustainable incomes and education for families of the disappeared. The Quilting Project provides wives of the disappeared with a way to honor the memory of their missing husbands, as well as learn a marketable skill to win a sustainable income. They also lobby the TRC and CoIED to incorporate these livelihood concerns into their recommendations for reparations.
In addition to the trauma of not knowing the fate of their loved one, families of the disappeared can face severe social stigma in their communities.
“In our social structure, being without a husband involves much suffering and pain in practical life. There are also family and ritual problems; I am feeling more pains because I am a woman without a husband. My whole identity and understanding has shifted with this incident; I am also fighting for an identity and a role in family and society.”
NEFAD’s district affiliates bring together families of the disappeared, providing them with a community of people who share their experiences and understand their pain.