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Meet Mohna Ansari, Nepal’s first female Muslim lawyer

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In this man dominated world, it is difficult for women to achieve something big especially to those who live in a developing country like Nepal.

But advocate Mohna Ansari proved her mettle and shown the world that everything is possible with firm determination and hard work.

Apart from being only female Muslim attorney in Nepal she is also the member of Nepal Human Rights Commission,
“In our community women’s leadership is not easily accepted. Our religion mentions equality, equal opportunity for education and even having the choice of marriage. In practice, however, due to cultural reasons, women leaders are not accepted by the society. I faced lots of challenges while I was going to school, at times my family was even asked why they were sending me to school.” She said in an interview with International IDEA.

A carpenter’s daughter, she studied in a government school and dropped out after a year in college due to financial problem. A scholarship enabled her to restart education after a gap of three years and in 2003 Ansari passed out as law graduate from Mahendra Multiple College of Nepalgunj becoming the first Muslim female law graduate.
After doing graduation, Ansari went on to work for global NGO’s, from where she progressed to UNDP and then to National Women’s Commission. It was while working at NWC as commissioner that she got a call from the Prime Minister’s office to join NHRC.

Now Mohna Ansari works earnestly for the rights of the marginalized section of society. Nepal having undergone significant political upheaval in the last decades is fraught with many human rights issues. Madhesis are a historically under privileged class who having felt neglected by Nepal’s new constitution rose in protest in Tarai region in September 2015. Government used force to subdue their protest and close to fifty people ended up losing their lives.

When Ansari raised the issue of Madhesis publically and question the use of force by army against the protest of civilians she landed in the eye of storm. Criticism and threats poured in from several quarters. In her own words “It is very difficult to operate”.

Her approach to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, with regard to use of force against Madhesi protesters has not gone too well with the government. However she has the support of social activists and human rights groups. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Commission of Jurists come out in her support.

Mohna has also raised issues relating to gender justice and women empowerment and supports 33% reservation for women in government jobs. “I raised a lot of issues, especially violence against women, and advocated for a gender bill to end discriminatory practices,” Ansari told while talking to Al Jazeera.

She got recognition of her work and was conferred upon Suprabal Jana Sewa Shree award and the Nava Devi Award, both in 2012.
On her twitter page she writes ‘My life has a meaning. My misfortune has become useful to the community’.
Courtesy: Muslim Mirror

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