KATHMANDU, July 23

The National Human Rights Commission has suggested that it should be made an independent, autonomous and inclusive body through the new constitution.

NHRC on Thursday submitted a 16-point suggestion charter, prepared on the basis of feedback from all regional and sub-regional offices of the constitutional rights watchdog, stakeholders and constitution experts, to Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang.

A press release issued by the NHRC said that a task force formed under the coordination of its member Govinda Sharma Paudyal has put forward suggestions to the Constituent Assembly on the issues of the preamble, citizenship, fundamental rights, NHRC and emergency among others.

The NHRC has suggested that the constitution should make clear provisions pertaining to jurisdiction of the NHRC, National Women’s Commission, National Dalit Commission and National Inclusive Commissions, besides the coordination authority of the rights watchdog with other commissions.

“As the fundamental rights come into force immediately, it is not appropriate to limit them, saying ‘under the law’ as mentioned in the draft. Many of the issues mentioned under the fundamental rights seem to be incorporated into the Directive Principles and Policies of State. Therefore, we would like to suggest that the CA make the provisions accordingly,” the release said.

The NHRC has suggested that disadvantaged and other groups that have long been at the bottom of the Human Development Index be exclusively included under the ‘Positive Discrimination’ in the constitution. It is also critical of the draft statute for ‘not following the principles of power separation’ on the whole. Stating that several terms used in draft constitution were ambiguous, it has suggested that the CA make necessary correction. “Since the preamble is the soul of a constitution, it should be precise, purposeful and human rights-friendly,” it said.

On citizenship issue, the NHRC suggested that provisions relating to naturalised citizenship would be justifiable in terms of gender equality. It has also demanded that there should be guarantee that no person will be subjected to physical and mental torture or inhumane treatment in the course of investigation. It has also called for citizen’s right to demand, receive and disseminate information on his/her public concerns.

The NHRC has suggested that the CA make a provision to criminalise physical, mental or any forms of torture against children in home, school or any other places. On senior citizens, it has urged to make a provision for special protection and social security that guarantees their rights to live a dignified life.

In its 16-point charter of suggestions, the NHRC has also suggested that chairperson and members of the rights watchdog be paid remunerations on par with chief justice and justices of the Supreme Court.

Recommendations

• The constitution should make clear provisions pertaining to jurisdiction of National Human Rights Commission, National Women’s Commission, National Dalit Commission and National Inclusive Commissions

• Since many of the issues mentioned under the fundamental rights seem to be incorporated into the Directive Principles and Policies of State, provisions should be made accordingly

• Include disadvantaged and other groups that have long been at the bottom of the Human Development Index exclusively under the ‘Positive Discrimination’

• Correct those terms that are ambiguous

• Preamble is the soul of a constitution, so it should be precise, purposeful and human rights-friendly

• Provisions relating to naturalised citizenship will be justifiable in terms of gender equality