Kathmandu, Dec 9 (EFE).- The United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, on Thursday said that Nepal’s caste system continues to perpetuate poverty and inequality in the country despite progress being made in the area in recent years thanks to overseas remittances.
“The stark inequalities resulting from the deeply entrenched norms and values of the Nepali caste system continue to perpetuate disadvantage today,” De Schutter told a press conference while concluding a 10-day UN fact finding mission to the country.
According to the UN report, the number of poor people dropped from 42 percent in 1995 to 12.5 percent in 2010, while the multidimensional poverty rate currently stands at 17 percent, registering a 12.7 percent decrease since 2014.
The rapporteur said that the progress of the last few years in eradicating poverty had mainly been possible due to remittances by Nepalis living abroad, and not due to government policies.
“A quarter of the decline in poverty can be attributed to outmigration only, with estimates showing that, without remittances, poverty would have increased in Nepal,” he highlighted.
Remittances had jumped by 8.2 percent during the last financial year to $8.15 billion according to Nepal’s central bank, a figure 10 times higher than the international aid received by the country.
De Schutter said the government would have to work a lot harder to meet its goal of reducing multidimensional poverty to 11.5 percent by FY 2023-2024.
He added that although Nepal’s constitution was one of the most progressive ones in the world, many of its promises were yet to be completed.
The rapporteur highlighted poverty among historically disadvantaged and discriminated groups, such as women and Dalits – formerly known as untouchables – after he met their representatives during the visit.
He underlined that women earned 30 percent less than men, owned just 19.7 percent of immovable property and faced a 17.5 percent literacy gap compared to men.