ICJ team meets Nepal, Katawal

Kathmandu, November 1:

A high-level mission of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), which is in Kathmandu to “assess the human rights situation” in the country, today met CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and Chief of the Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal.

A source at the CPN-UML said the discussion focused mainly on the current political situation, the peace process and the human rights situation.

The ICJ mission is here on a five-day visit to “assess the human rights and rule of law in the country and to discuss with the government, the Maoists, the judiciary and civil society effective means to ensure that human rights remains an integral part of Nepal’s emerging peace process”.

The delegation will formally announce its findings at a press conference on Friday.

“I have learned from experience in many countries that addressing current and past human rights violations and the underlying causes of the conflict are essential if the peace process is to be stable and long term,” Nicholas Howen, the ICJ secretary-general and head of the mission, said.

The delegation is “exploring” with Nepalis ways to tackle human rights issues. Susan Appleyard, programme officer for the Asia-Pacific, is accompanying Howen on the mission.

This is Howen’s fourth visit to Nepal as the ICJ secretary-general since 2004.

The ICJ mission today also met Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel and legal experts in the country and held discussions on human rights and constitutional issues and the independence of the judiciary.

The delegation held discussions with Chief Justice Paudel and President of Nepal Bar Association Shambu Thapa and some other prominent legal experts in the country.

“They stressed the need for independence of the judiciary,” SC Registrar Ram Krishna Timalsena said. Timalsena who was also attended the meeting said they discussed about the future position of the judiciary in the proposed interim statute.

“They discussed with me about the current situation and constitutional issues of Nepal and the human rights situation,” Nepal Bar Association resident Thapa said.