Human rights commission might withdraw officer from recommendation committee

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

May 5, 2019-

The National Human Rights Commission could withdraw its representative from the recommendation committee formed to select new officials for the two transitional

justice bodies as a last resort to put pressure on the government to revise the amendment bill to the National Human Rights Commission Act 2012 and to initiate the process to amend the existing transitional justice Act.

The constitutional human rights watchdog is currently in a wait and watch mode as cross-party lawmakers, including those from the ruling party, have assured to revise the amendment bill.

A member of the commission said Prakash Osti, who is representing the commission in the recommendation committee, could be recalled if the government did not promptly take positive steps to address the commission’s concerns.

“We are waiting as lawmakers including those from the Nepal Communist Party have assured necessary changes,” the member told the Post.

The commission has publicly criticised the amendment bill, currently under consideration in the federal Parliament, which has proposed making it mandatory for the rights watchdog to recommend the cases it has investigated to the attorney general authorising the latter to decide whether or not to proceed with the case.

It also authorises the attorney general to request the commission for further investigation if she finds the case incomplete.

The constitutional body at present can direct any agency or person to execute its recommendations made after its investigations.

The commission is also demanding an amendment to the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2014, in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling and international practice.

The victim’s community and human rights defenders have also been demanding that the commission call Osti back.

Another member of the commission said Anup Raj Sharma, the chairperson of the national human rights watchdog, had agreed to send a representative to the recommendation committee after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli assured necessary amendment to the transitional justice Act.

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had also assured Sharma that he would work towards amending the transitional justice Act.

“He, however, was deceived,” said the member. “The selection process moved ahead, but there were no efforts to amend the transitional justice Act.”

Govinda Sharma Paudyal, who heads the publicity department at the commission, said the constitutional watchdog’s decision will depend upon the move of the government.

“Voices to call our member Osti back from the recommendation committee are getting stronger,” he told the Post. “If the government doesn’t correct its mistake, a decision to that effect is possible.”

Published: 05-05-2019 09:59

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