Kathmandu, July 23
The National Human Rights Commission has made a number of recommendations to the federal, provincial and local governments to put an end to incidents of caste-based discrimination and untouchability.
The rights body reminded the authorities concerned and people that the practice was punishable by law and needed to be accepted as a national problem.
A monitoring report ‘Status of Rights against Cased-based Discrimination and Untouchability’ released by the NHRC last week stated that caste-based discrimination and untouchability deprived the citizens of basic human rights and caused adverse impact on their life, liberty, equality and dignity.
“The problem has yet to be put to an end. It is not only a problem of the Dalit community, but of all human communities. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law will be meaningful and the vision of peace, development and prosperity can be realised only if this practice is completely eliminated from society,” the report said.
The NHRC urged all three tiers of government to effectively implement the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights articulated in the constitution as fundamental rights of citizens for protection and promotion of human rights of the Dalit community. “The NHRC requests the governments of all three levels to incorporate ways to end caste-based discrimination and untouchability in their policies, plans, programmes and budget,” it stated.
The rights body also urged the governments to implement the recommendations forwarded to the federal government by the NHRC through periodic reviews on the basis of international commitments made by Nepal.
It stressed the need to provide training to law enforcement agencies and conduct awareness-raising campaigns to end all the ill-practices in the country.
“All three levels of government have to work in an effective manner against social malpractices by forming anti-caste-based discrimination and anti-untouchability promotion mechanism and bring to book the guilty on time,” the report said.
The rights body urged the federal government to empower and equip the NHRC, National Dalit Commission, National Women Commission and National Inclusion Commission working to abolish caste-based discrimination and untouchability. The NHRC has also requested all the political parties to help create an environment for effective implementation of the provisions stipulated in the constitution and prevailing laws to ensure that no citizen is deprived of his/her political, economic, social and cultural rights just because of his/her caste.
“The political parties are advised to incorporate social offences of caste-based discrimination and untouchability into their documents and mobilise their cadres to make people aware against such practices. They should also ensure the access of the Dalit community to their parties as per the principles of proportional inclusion and cooperate with the authorities concerned to punish the guilty,” the report said.
The NHRC has also urged civil society and non-governmental organisations to conduct awareness-raising programmes and pressure all three levels of government for protection and promotion of human rights.
A version of this article appears in print on July 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.