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About Us

Bhutan Women and Children Organisation (BWCO) is an independent non-profit and non-governmental human rights organisation. It was established on November 23, 1990 in exile by the Bhutanese women to organise themselves for the establishment of democracy; protection, promotion and defence of democratic values, human rights, women’s and child rights in Bhutan.

Bhutan is ruled by an absolute monarchy. It does not have a Constitution or Bill of Rights. The section of society most notably excluded from the process of development in Bhutan  in terms of both the beneficiaries and the contributors - is women. Women population, which comprises almost half of the total population in Bhutan, has been so far neglected, discriminated and exploited. They have been deprived of most of the opportunities including access to business and industry, gainful employment, skill development training, education, health etc. They do not have access to education, gainful employment, economic resources, political process and decision-making institutions. Their representation at the policy and decision making bodies is negligible.  In total, the status of women is very low in Bhutan.  

Who started the group and why?

In the eighties, the government of Bhutan implemented a series of discriminatory policies in the Southern Bhutan.  The southern Bhutanese people organised protest rallies in all six districts of southern Bhutan in protest against the abuses of  their human rights. The government security forces came heavily upon southern Bhutanese. They resorted to such inhuman tactics as torture, killing in custody,  indiscriminate arrests, loot, rape, plunder and  burning of the houses of southern Bhutanese,  finally compelling them to leave their home in fear. 

Thus, in the wake of wide spread abuses of human rights in the southern districts, a group of grassroots Bhutanese women established Bhutan Women and Children Organisation (BWCO) on  November  23, 1990 in exile. It was formed in exile by Bhutanese women to organise themselves for the protection,  promotion and defence of women’s and child  rights, and advancement and empowerment of women in  Bhutan. It was necessary to form this group, because of the absence of any women’s organisation working for their rights. BWCO is the first and pioneer women’s and children’s  organisation of Bhutan. 

All Bhutanese human rights organisations,  human rights activists and political parties are required to work in exile under exceptionally difficult situation, as there is a complete ban on the formation of unions, associations, organisations, human rights organisations and political parties in Bhutan by the government. They  function in three countries, in Nepal their host country,  India, the transit country, and Bhutan their home.

BWCO believes that practical application of international instruments, the Convention on the Elimination of
     All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,  gender justice and gender equality  are indispensable for achievement of women’s real empowerment, gender equality, gender justice and social justice.  

Areas of work

  • Establishment of democracy and human rights in Bhutan

  • Human rights, women's rights child rights.

  • Women’s human rights : Gender issues, gender equality, gender justice and social justice

  • Violence Against Women

  • Reproductive rights and health

  • Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

  • Sexual abuse,  exploitation and trafficking  of women and children

  • Empowerment of women and uplifting the status of women

  • Child rights and Child labour

  • Education, training, awareness  and leadership development

  • Propagation of international instruments on women’s human rights and gender equality

  • Advocacy and networking

  • Research, documentation, case studies and publication

Structure of BWCO

It's structure and objectives have been already laid down in its Articles of Association or the Constitution. The Constitution is clear about the structure, the powers and responsibilities of  Board and  staff of BWCO. The President of BWCO is the  Chief Executive of BWCO. She is also  the chairperson of its Board of Directors. She is appointed by the Board of Directors for a period of five years and shall be eligible for re-election. She prepares project proposals and submit  to the funding agencies and submit the accounts of expenditure to them as agreed upon. The treasurer is responsible for the entire financial transactions of BWCO. The Board of Directors has  the powers to formulate the plans, programmes and policies of BWCO.  It also has  the powers to approve the budget and conduct the audit of the   accounts  of BWCO. 

The day-today decisions are taken by the President in consultation with the volunteer staff. The President discusses  all matters relating to the organisation and its work with its staff- volunteers staff and the Treasurer. Such discussions are held as per the need.  The President needs to seek the approval of the Board on all matters relating to the policy matters. The President in consultation with the staff prepares necessary document and proposals for seeking approval of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors examines the proposal and document. The Board of Directors by majority votes approves or rejects the  proposal. It gives its advice as per the need. The President also submits statement of all financial transaction to the Board of Directors. There are nine volunteers and 25 members 

As a not for profit,  and non-governmental organisation, BWCO depends on voluntary donations from the individuals  and  international funding agencies to implement its human rights programmes. As an exiled women rights organisation, BWCO does not have any regular sources of funding. It cannot raise funds internally. It is also finding very difficult to generate internal funds. The Government of Bhutan arrests, imprisons and evicts a person along with his family from the country, if he/she is found to contributing fund to any Bhutanese or Bhutanese NGO in exile. Thus, ninety nine percent of BWCO's  programmes are funded by the overseas funding agencies.



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