Nepal | November 26, 2020

‘NHRC report a positive step towards justice’

Himalayan News Service
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A recent report published by the National Human Rights Commission that features details of human rights violations committed by 286 persons in the last two decades is a step towards ensuring accountability and combating impunity for human rights abuses in Nepal, said Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions.

The list, though long overdue, was published on the NHRC’s website on October 15 and details human rights violations and their perpetrators based on its progress report on the evaluation of 1,195 recommendations made by it over the last 20 years. The list includes police personnel, civil servants, army personnel and security agencies. Among them, only 30 have faced legal action, while others are yet to be charged. From 1,195 recommendations made by the NHRC to the Government of Nepal, only 163 recommendations have fully been implemented by previous governments, mostly involving only monetary compensation.

“The report is a welcome step towards accountability on long-standing human rights abuses in Nepal, but there are glaring omissions on cases of sexual violence, especially on violence inflicted by security agencies during the conflict period in Nepal. Action to address sexual violence needs to be taken very seriously. ANNI urges the Commission to pursue those with equal urgency,” said Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, executive director of FORUM-ASIA. While the public intervention from the NHRC comes only four days before the end of the current NHRC commissioners’ six-year tenure, ANNI lauds the NHRC for compiling the report and enumerating all pending cases from the last two decades.

This is a crucial step to not only urge the government to initiate the process of carefully following-up on addressing those violations and cases of impunity, but also to hold it accountable as Nepal begins its second term as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, after being re-elected in October 2020.

According to a press release issued by ANNI from Kathmandu and Bangkok, much remains for the new NHRC and the Government of Nepal to do in addressing the remaining cases, and to ensure that justice is granted to the victims of those human rights abuses over the last several years. ANNI has been advocating for publication of periodic human rights situation reports by the NHRC, and views the report as a positive step in ensuring that its previous recommendations to the NHRC have been implemented.

ANNI has urged the NHRC to undergo a transparent and participatory selection and appointment process of new commissioners to ensure that the leadership is able to continue the commendable work of its predecessor. “The upcoming NHRC commissioners should not only carry forward recommendations of its predecessor, but consistently work towards holding the government accountable for its human rights record, during its tenure,” it said. ANNI has also called for an immediate and careful investigation into all human rights violations cases, and for initiation of actions against violators, if found guilty.

“ANNI stands ready to continue supporting the work and mandate of the NHRC, and remains committed to continuing our engagement with the Commission in its work on the promotion and protection of human rights in Nepal,” said Executive Director Shamini.

A version of this article appears in print on October 23, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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