Kathmandu, April 3:

The Lawyers’ Campaign Against Untouchability (LANCAU) today announced a campaign

to end the practice of untouchability in Nepal by 2015.

Under this drive they aim to create awareness among people by organising various programmes, enforce laws against untouchability and gather governmental and non-governmental organisations’ support to ensure Dalits’ proportionate participation in all sectors.

At an interaction on the role of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to end untouchability organised by LANCAU, the speakers said practical support of the NHRC and rights activists was needed to end the practice of untouchability.

The organisers also presented a brief course of action for the NHRC to make their campaign a success.

Ratna Bahadur Bagchand, executive director of LANCAU, blamed the NHRC for confining its vision to “those who are considered humans”. “The real human rights protection is only possible when every man enjoys the privilege of being a man,” he said.

Hira Biswokarma, advisor to the Federation of Dalit Non-Government Organisations, said though Nepal was declared an untouchability-free state last year, discrimination on the basis of caste is still prevalent in rural areas. He commented on the inefficiency of the NHRC and the National Dalit Commission to tackle Dalits’ issues and demanded a separate unit at the NHRC to look after the issues.

Dhurba Nepal, acting secretary at the NHRC, expressed his commitment to include at least a Dalit member in the rights body.