Ex-UN official in Nepal to discuss transitional justice issues

- Binod Ghimire, ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Dec 21, 2018-

Ian Martin, the former special representative of the UN secretary general in Nepal, has been in the country for over a week, meeting with human rights activists and conflict victims. 

Since arriving in the Capital, Martin has met around a dozen individuals connected with the country’s transitional justice process, mostly human rights defenders. Those who have met or are scheduled to meet Martin say he is here to look into the potential role the UN could have in the transitional justice process.

Martin believes that the country’s transitional justice process stands on a weak foundation and that the Nepali leadership had not aligned transitional justice with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, multiple people who had met with Martin told the Post. Clause 9.1 of the agreement states that the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will continue to monitor human rights in Nepal. This clause allows the UN a monitoring role even in the transitional justice process, Martin reportedly said. 

A section of human rights activists in the country has recently been demanding a UN role in monitoring or even intervening, in transitional justice. 

The activists, however, say that Martin’s visit is unrelated. “There is no link between our demands and his visit. I believe Martin is here on a personal trip,” said Mandira Sharma, a rights activist who met Martin. Along with Sharma, civil society members Tika Dhakal, Ram Bhandari and Hari Phuyal have already met him while rights activist Govind Bandi is scheduled for a meeting on Friday. He also has approached Gopal Shah, vice-chairman of Conflict Victims Common Platfrom who leads a dissident faction within the umbrella body of the conflict victims. However, other leaders of the platform are not in his list. Martin leaves on Saturday.

Martin was in Nepal under various UN capacities from 2005 to 2009, during which time, his role as head of UNMIN was highly controversial. Some senior government officials believe that transitional justice is purely a domestic issue that Nepal is capable of handling on its own. “We have to move forward addressing the genuine concerns of the international community, but we don’t need any international agency supervising or monitoring the transitional justice process,” said Ramesh Dhakal, secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, who is leading the preparation of an amendment bill to the existing Transitional Justice Act.

Published: 21-12-2018 06:43

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