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Agriculture Bonded Labour Conference presses for emancipation of Harawa-Charawa


By Sushil Darnal, KATHMANDU:- The Agriculture Bonded Labour National Conference concluded today by issuing a Kathmandu declaration with the demand for the liberation of Harawa-Charawa (bonded labourers in the agriculture sector).
The Conference has sought the annulment of ‘unjust debt’ remaining in the name of Harawa-Charawa.
The two-day national gathering organised by the Agriculture Bonded Labour Rights Forum and National Dalit Network Nepal also demanded the clear and credible data of Harawa-Charawa, recognition of their status and Harawa-Charawa identity card for them.
Each family of Harawa-Charawa should be provided at least 10 kattha of land (one kattha is equivalent to 3645 sq.ft) and education, health and employment opportunities be ensured while rehabilitating them.
The Conference drew the government’s attention towards the endorsement of the draft relating to Haliya Labour Prohibition Act, citing that rehabilitation of Haliya (bonded tillers) was not the priority of the three-tier government.
It has pressed for ensuring an identity card to those bonded tillers deprived of it despite the verification of their status.
Harawa are those bonded labours who are forced to work as land tillers and Charawa are those who work as herders to pay off debt taken by their ancestors, or themselves or in condition of getting grains from their landlords. Most Harawa-Charawa are landless and they are either non-paid or largely underpaid.
The 2013 ILO study suggests that the population of Harawa-Charawa in Nepal exceeds 100,000.
A study carried out by the ‘The Freedom Fund and CSRC has the fact that Haruwa Cahruwa are still bonded due to irregular debt.

The conference has demanded the government to include rehabilitation package by providing identity cards along with the arrangement of re-collection of details again of freed kamaiyas and those missed to be transformed as modern farmers and labourers by making them free from poverty and bonded labour for real liberation of freed kamaiyas.

It has also asked to address the problems of Haruwa Charuwa—citizenship, birth registration, social security allowance, to take initiatives for their identity, distribution of id card, to establish their ownership on land, access of Haruwa Charuwa in skill-oriented training for livelihood, and to end labour exploitation maintaining ‘equal pay for equal work’ as per the policy of government of Nepal.
The declaration also demanded to provide identity cards to the kamlahari missed out in the list of freed kamlahari by collecting accurate data and to make all the kamlahari free by bringing the landlord of the children, who are still working as kamlahari, under the ambit of action.
The kamlaharis are the erstwhile bonded domestic maids. The government has already abolished the harawa-charawa and kamlahari systems from the country. RSS

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