Nepal stares at UN grilling in Geneva meet

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Nepal stares at UN grilling in Geneva meet

Feb 16, 2015-

The 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that begins in Geneva on March 2 is likely to be a grilling time for Nepal even though the country has made some progress in addressing transitional justice concerns and setting up two transitional justice mechanisms.

Though the government is set to defend its position saying that the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission on Inquiry into Disappearances (CID) is a concrete step towards delivering transitional justice, national and international human rights communities question the standards of the commissions and the flouting of the Supreme Court order while forming them.

Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey will lead the Nepali delegation to Geneva where the team will defend Nepal’s overall rights situation. His argument will be that the government adheres to international treaties and conventions. The non-government sector is also submitting its shadow report criticising he government’s “little effort to safeguard human rights”. The government side is set to plead at the session against the authenticity of the report from the non-government sector. Sources familiar with the developments in Geneva told the Post that five issues related to Nepal’s constitution making process and the country’s failure to make the transitional justice mechanisms functional will dominate the session when discussion on Nepal takes place.

The first is that the recently installed TRC and CID do not meet the international standard and are not in compliance with the apex court verdict. The Supreme Court in January last year ruled that there should be no provision for amnesty in serious crimes. National and international human rights communities have cried foul over the TRC law that “compromises amnesty provision”.

The delayed constitution drafting process is also likely to figure in the session since the matter directly impacts governance, law and order, resource sharing, and upholding the rights of minorities, disadvantaged groups and other marginalised classes. The country’s failure to end impunity is also set to be raised. The lack of progress in social transformation in Nepal in the aftermath of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement is another likely agenda.

According to Minister Pandey, the government will apprise the international community that Nepal has fully abided by international conventions and “stands firm on its human rights commitments” despite the ongoing transition.

“We will convey that the human rights situation is improving,” said Pandey. “We will also appeal to the international community to trust the government, and not to subscribe a report prepared by outsiders.” Another message from Nepal will be that the government is working to restore peace and order in the country.

TRC ‘committed’ to pacts, verdicts

Newly formed Truth and Reconciliation Commission has expressed commitment to past agreements, court verdicts and international standard practices while investigating into the cases of rights violation and recommending for action against those involved in such crimes.

“The concerns regarding formation of the commission, envisioned by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the process that followed were natural,” the commission stated on Monday, acknowledging the concerns raised by human rights community both in and outside the country. “We appreciate the concerns raised by victim community, civil society, rights organisations, political parties and international community.”

The commission has promised to adopt victim-centric approach in investigation and recommendation for action in cases of rights violation. Appealing to stakeholders for support, the commission vowed to book the perpetrators and compensate the victims for the loss. The statement comes at a time when victims and rights communities are dissatisfied at the process of transitional justice as well as the contents of the TRC Act.

Three writ petitions are pending at the apex court against the TRC Act as well as Recommendation Committee and its working procedure. Victims and rights defenders have opposed the provision of reconciliation, which allows the commissions to exercise its discretion. Besides, the victims have complained that they were excluded from the process of transitional justice, overlooking the SC directive to the government to form such commission in consultations with them.  (PR)

Published: 17-02-2015 07:20

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