NHRC demands justice for farmers

Kathmandu, December 31

The National Human Rights Commission has written to the Government of Nepal, asking it to provide the rights body with information about the action taken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies for disbursement of subsidy to sugarcane farmers. A press released issued by the NHRC today said it was concerned about the inaction of the government against sugar mill operators who had not cleared dues of the farmers.

Hundreds of sugarcane farmers from Sarlahi, Rautahat and Nawalparasi, have been staging protest in Kathmandu to exert pressure to the government for recovery of their outstanding dues from the sugar mill operators.

NHRC said its team had been holding discussion with the officials of concerned ministries of Province 2, sugarcane farmers and sugar mill owners for justice to the victims.

“The farmers, who are dependent on sugarcane farming, have been denied their fundamental rights to earn and enjoy benefit through investment,” the NHRC said. It reminded the government about the provisions stipulated in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights-2011, which requires the state to protect farmers from business-related human rights abuse through judicial, administrative, legislative or other appropriate measures and provide the victims access to effective remedy.

According to the guiding principles, unless the state takes appropriate steps to investigate, punish and redress business-related human rights abuses, the state’s duty to protect its citizens can be rendered weak or even meaningless.

The NHRC has urged the government, sugar mills and all concerned parties to resolve the problem facing the sugarcane farmers and protect their fundamental and human rights.