Efforts on to unite two factions of rights activists and conflict victims

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Dec 30, 2018-

Amid a widening rift between the human rights activists and conflict victims, a group of civil society members has started an initiative to bring them together to have a common voice in the transitional justice process.

The conflict victims, earlier united under the Conflict Victims Common Platform, have split after the umbrella body made public its charter envisioning formation of a mechanism to have a broad consensus on the transitional justice process, which is

largely defunct at present. A section of the conflict victims, including Gopal Shah, Vice-chair of the platform Ram Bhandari, Sabitri Shrestha, Gita Rasaili, among others, has formed another alliance. They have accused the incumbent CVCP leadership of working at the behest of an ‘interest group’.

The Shah and Bhandari group has claimed the mechanism’s formation is a conspiracy to give perpetrators upper hand in the dealing of the war-era cases of human rights violation. That sentiment is shared by a number of human rights activists, including Charan Prasain, Indra Aryal, Ashik Ram Karki, Om Prakash Aryal.

CVCP leaders, including Chairman Bhagi Ram Chaudhary, General Secretary Janak Raut and former chairman Suman Adhikari, however, argue that the mechanism that has representations from different stakeholders, including the victims, is necessary to break the present deadlock. Backing them are Sushil Pyakurel, a human rights activist and advisor to the President, Tika Dhakal and Geja Sharma Wagle, among others.

Warning that the rift could weaken the voice of the conflict victims, a group of civil society members had on Friday brought together the representatives from two

factions as an attempt to reunite them. Putting his views at the gathering, Adhikari said it was wrong to accuse them of compromising the victims’ agenda. He claimed their proposal on formating the mechanism was aimed at expediting the transitional justice process which has moved nowhere all these years.

“The claim that our current position will benefit the perpetrators is baseless. How is even that possible,” he said.

Defending their move, Pyakurel said it was an honest effort from their part to make the ongoing transitional justice process a victim-centric in a true sense. The representatives from the dissident faction had demanded reasons

for lobbying for a separate mechanism, their agendas of discussion during the Swiss-funded Bangkok trip and how could the government acknowledge the charter issued by the CVCP.

“Our activities shouldn’t promote division among the conflict victims. We are saddened to see the split in the CVCP,” said Karki, a representative from the dissident faction. The organisers said the Friday’s gathering concluded with an agreement to continue the negotiations.

Published: 30-12-2018 08:15

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