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Ministry reaffirms top court norms for envoys

  • Master’s Degree mandatory for ambassadorial appointments
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 13, 2018-

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday reiterated the criteria ordered by the Supreme Court, including mandatory Master’s Degree, while appointing candidates as Nepal’s ambassadors to other countries.

Senior officials at the ministry have prepared the norms and submitted to office of Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.

The ministry had drafted the criteria for ambassadorial appointment earlier. The latest norms are according to the Supreme Court mandamus issued to the government on April 19.The top court had commanded the government to stipulate criteria to appoint Nepal’s ambassadors to foreign countries.

The court had told the government to abide by the criteria in letter and spirit. It has also directed the government to maintain transparency and to name only capable and qualified diplomats as ambassadors.

The SC criteria demand minimum Masters’ Degree in any subject and proficiency in English language. Proficiency in major international languages would be desirable, not mandatory, for candidates aspiring ambassador’s job.

Among other criteria, the candidate should not have criminal record, filed for bankruptcy and black listed by any state agency. Aspirants with active membership of a political party or associated with an NGO that receives funds from particular donor or country would be barred.

Recent returnees from international postings or those with experience in INGOs or international organisations cannot be appointed, the ministry said.The criteria proposed by the Foreign Ministry earlier did not progress beyond the Prime Minister’s Office.Whether a political appointee or career diplomat, the criteria apply to all, the ministry said.

Those completing an international posting would have to wait some more time as well as people having direct conflict of interest in any country like having business or any other kind of links, would not be eligible.

An example of conflict of interest was the recalling of Nepal’s Ambassador to India Rukma Shumsher Rana because he held a senior position in Dabur Nepal, a subsidiary of Dabur India. The SC in its ruling urged the government that though it has the sole jurisdiction of the executive to appoint ambassadors, the duties of an ambassador are associated with the prestige of the nation and its welfare; therefore, it is also a matter of public concern.“A capable person should be appointed as ambassador to represent the state.”

Ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions are entitled to diplomatic immunity, the government needs to ensure that only people with high moral character represent the state, the bench said in its ruling.

“It is the primary job of the government to fix the required criteria for any appointments. Therefore, it is the duty of the executive to fix the criteria for the selection of ambassadors,” the court said. The country’s president appoints ambassadors, based on the government’s recommendation. In response to the SC order, the Foreign Ministry—the authority that recommends appointment of the ambassadors—stated there is no separate law for the appointment.

In the past, several ambassadors courted controversy because of lack of professionalism and personal indulgences. For these reasons, the government should appoint a capable person as an envoy, the court stated.

Citing some of the international practices where careers diplomats are appointed as ambassadors after a long service at the foreign ministry and in some cases, people from other backgrounds, the court advised the government to explore selection criteria.

Published: 13-06-2018 07:24

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