NHRC objects to UN official’s remarks

KATHMANDU: The National Human Rights Commission has taken serious exception to the remarks made by John Ging, Director, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, regarding Nepali media reports about quality of foods distributed by the World Food Programme to earthquake victims.

“How do Nepali media become nonsense? Can you term them nonsense just because media brought to light the fact that substandard foods were being distributed in some parts of the country by the WFP?” NHRC Spokespersons Mohana Ansari told THT.

In a press meet organised in the UN House in Lalitpur yesterday, Ging had dismissed media report that the WFP was supplying substandard and inedible food items as ‘nonsense’. Ging, who heads Coordination and Response Division of UNOCHA, had visited Nepal from June 29 to July 1.

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“Despite UNOCHA’s claims, we have found out that the rice distributed by the WFP in Kavre was not as per Nepal’s official standard for consumption,” said Ansari. She said rice sacks that were ready for distribution for the quake-victims in Gorkha and pluses stored in a WFP godown in Nepalgunj had been found inedible.

“The UNOCHA director should correct his remarks and apologise. He has no right to call our media nonsense and dismiss the quality test done by Nepal’s Food Technology and Quality Control Department,” Ansari added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the WFP to clarify on the matter.

The United Nations and International Organisation Division of MoFA wrote to the UN food assistance arms yesterday after a parliamentary investigation team also came up with a report that some inedible and beans banned in Nepal (khesari dal) were also mixed in some pulse sacks kept at the WFP storehouse in Nepalgunj.

“We have asked the WFP to respond to parliamentary committee’s report,” MoFA Spokesperson Tara Prasad Pokhrel said. “We are yet to get the response.”