And justice for all
- Conflict wounds cannot be healed without recognising victims’ demands
Dec 10, 2014-Yesterday, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, a number of programmes were organised to urge the government to live up to its commitments to human rights. Such programmes have been held every year, especially since the peace process began in 2006. But they have started to seem merely ceremonial. For they seem to have little influence on the actions of the government. Conflict victims and their families have received neither justice nor adequate reparations, though it has been years since the conflict ended. Other forms of human rights violations, including discrimination against women and members of marginalised caste and ethnic groups, continue to occur. Whatever progress has been made in ameliorating such human rights violations has come from civil society; the current government barely seems to be concerned about such matters.
Still, there has been progress in some small ways. The formation of the Conflict Victims Common Platform (CVCP) is one such case, in pursuit of a victim-centric transitional justice process. Previously, conflict victims were organised into many different organisations. There were rivalries and antagonisms with each other, especially between those organisations that represent victims of the state and those representing victims of the Maoists. In addition, many conflict victims were very frustrated by the transitional justice process. They felt that the state was completely ignoring their demands. They also felt that the professional human rights activists were not paying attention to their key demands, but rather sought to ‘instrumentalise’ conflict victims for their own ends. A number of conflict victims felt that it was necessary for all organisations representing victims to come together to forge a common position and voice. After an effort lasting months, 15 victims’ groups finally came together to form the CVCP. We hope that this new platform will be able to maintain unity and move ahead with a joint position so as to be able to pressure the government.
Presently, the CVCP is demanding that all commissioners to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission on Enforced Disappearances (CoED) should be appointed in a neutral, non-political manner. The political parties should pay heed to this demand. Over the past few years, the various attempts to form transitional justice commissions have come into a great deal of controversy as political parties have sought to formulate laws that are focussed primarily on avoiding prosecution. Now that the commissions are about to be formed, the parties should be very sensitive to criticisms and ensure that all decisions they take are aimed at gaining widespread legitimacy for the commissions, among victims, the international community, and the broader population. If the demands of conflict victims are not recognised, the wounds of the conflict cannot be healed and the transitional justice process will drag on for a very long time.
Published: 11-12-2014 09:34