Kathmandu, February 7
Members of the Parliamentary Hearing Committee representing both ruling and opposition parties have criticised the government for not ensuring inclusion in the recent appointment of ambassadors.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali was present in the panel when lawmakers raised the issue today. The government appointed nine ambassadors recently, but there was only one woman and one Janajati member among them.
Anjan Shakya, Nepal’s Ambassador to Israel, is the only woman envoy and Amrit Rai, permanent representative of Nepal to the United Nations in New York, the only envoy from Janajatis.
Article 282 of the constitution stipulates that the president may, on the basis of the principle of inclusion, appoint ambassadors and special emissaries for any specific purpose.
Nepali Congress lawmaker Jitendra Narayan Dev urged the government to implement the constitutional provision. “The constitution respects identity, devolves power and ensures inclusion,” he said. “But the government is not paying attention to these things. Three powerful ministries — Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Home
Affairs — have not been ensuring inclusion.”
He said if the government didn’t have sufficient number of eligible candidates in MoFA to ensure inclusion, it should promote second class officers to joint secretaries and appoint them as ambassadors to respect the constitutional provisions. Dev said the MoFA should include the constitutional provisions in its directives to ensure inclusion.
NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal said there should be more representation from marginalised communities in the ambassadorial nominations and appointments. “We have transformed from liberal democracy to inclusive democracy, so the government should follow it,” she said. She said if the government lacked eligible candidates from among career diplomats to ensure inclusion, then it should bring in candidates from other ministries.
Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Surendra Pandey also warned the government against appointing ambassadors without ensuring inclusion. “We are deeply concerned that the recent appointment of ambassadors did not ensure inclusion and therefore, we have called this meeting. I hope after this meeting, the MoFA and the prime minister will think seriously about it,” he said.
NCP lawmaker Yogesh Bhattarai also requested the government to ensure inclusion while appointing ambassadors.
NCP lawmaker Niru Devi Pal criticised the MoFA for ensuring representation of only one woman ambassador out of nine appointments. “The government should groom women career diplomats for appointment as ambassadors,” she said.
NCP lawmaker Amrita Thapa said the government should think seriously about inclusion while appointing career diplomats.
Replying to the lawmakers, Gyawali said the government was following the spirit of the constitution as far as inclusion was concerned. “Although, the government couldn’t recommend sufficient number of envoys from among all the clusters but it will try to ensure inclusion by recommending political appointees from different social backgrounds,” he said.
He, however, said that the government could not appoint second class MoFA officers as ambassadors. “Career diplomats should be chosen from among the first class officers,” he said. Gyawali also said that if the government sent ambassadors from other government services other than foreign service, then other countries would not accept it.
A version of this article appears in print on February 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.