In a first, govt tables NHRC report in House

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
Commission Spokesperson Mohna Ansari hails decision as ‘historic’, saying that the government had followed the constitutional provision for the first time

Apr 8, 2017- Following regular pressure from the parliamentary Committee on Social Justice and Human Rights and human rights defenders, the government has, for the first time, tabled the annual reports of the National Human Rights Commission in the Legislature-Parliament for discussion.

The government had been breaching the constitutional provision by not tabling the annual report in Parliament for discussion ever since the rights watchdog was established in 2000. Successive governments in the past 16 years have been flouting the constitutional provision that requires the prime minister to table the annual report after the NHRC submits it to the President. 
Article 294 of the constitution says the constitutional body submits its annual report to the President, who will forward it to Parliament through the PM for discussion.
The minister for law and justice, on behalf of PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal, presented three reports for the years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 to the House meeting on Friday. “This is a historic development,” said Mohna Ansari, spokesperson for the commission. “For the first time, the government has followed the constitutional provision.”
She said that discussion of the report in Parliament would make government accountable as the state of implementation of the NHRC recommendations by the government remains bleak. The NHRC, after investigating into the complaints made to it, recommends the government for action. According to the commission, only 14 percent of the recommendations, most of them related to compensation for the victims, have been implemented.
Between 2000 and 2013, the NHRC has recommended 735 cases of rights violation for action but only 103 of them were fully implemented by the government. The 118 recommendations made in the past three years have been incorporated in the three reports tabled in Parliament.
Ansari believes that discussion of the reports in Parliament would press the government to implement them as lawmakers could raise the issues. The NHRC reports highlight the issues of dismal progress in transitional justice, caste-based violence and inaccessibility of education and health services. The Human Rights Committee of Parliament had been pressing the government to table the reports.
After lawmakers discuss the reports, the PM will have to answer the concerns of lawmakers if there are any. Ansari said the delay in endorsing the Anti-torture Bill remains a challenge in punishing rights violators.

Published: 08-04-2017 07:55

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