Bhatta urges Gurung to call TRC meeting without delay

Kathmandu, February 16

Truth and Reconciliation Commission member Madhabi Bhatta has formally urged its Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung to call an immediate meeting of the transitional justice body.

In a letter to TRC Chairman Gurung today, she expressed concern on the delay in conducting meetings and cautioned she would direct the TRC Secretariat to call one.

As per Section 9 (1) the TRC Act, the chairman calls the meetings of the commission. She said the delay in holding TRC meeting had affected investigation into more than 58,000 complaints relating to conflict-era human rights violations.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Bhatta said she was compelled to write a formal letter because Chairman Gurung had not called the transitional justice body’s meeting ever after its mandate was extended.  The government had extended the mandate of TRC, along with the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, by one year on February 10.

Chairman Gurung has reportedly been irregular to his office since February 2, when he left the meeting abruptly following a debate with Bhatta regarding a proposal to seek TRC’s term extension.

Gurung could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts. In her letter, Bhatta has stated that an early meeting of TRC was important to decide on the victims’ complaints, direct the TRC’s field offices to commence investigation into complaints and come up with a tangible work plan following extension of its mandate.

She has also sent copies of the letter to TRC Secretariat, the National Human Rights Commission and Social Justice and Human Rights Committee of the Parliament.