TRC members should quit if they can’t do their job: Conflict victims

Kathmandu, January 9

Conflict victims today said members of Truth and Reconciliation Commission should resign and join their movement if they could not do their job of investigating war-era human rights violations.

Stating that TRC was getting more perpetrator-centric rather than victim-centric, they said the members should come clean as to why they could not even investigate a single complaint in the past three years.

“You give various reasons such as earthquakes, political situation in the country and internal feuds for your failure to investigate our complaints, but we are not here to listen to your complaints,” said Anita Gyawali of Arghakhachi who lost her father during the Maoist insurgency.

In a meeting between TRC officials and conflict victims here today, she said, “If you can’t do your job, you do not have the right to continue holding the position.”

The victims also said they felt that the TRC members were more concerned about their jobs rather than convincing the victims that they would get justice one day. “I have lost faith in TRC,” said Chandra Kala Adhikari of Gorkha whose husband was murdered during the armed conflict. “We’ve already faced a lot of trouble. And, it’s frustrating to know that you [TRC members] are enjoying your jobs selling our names.”

Other issues raised by the victims included what plans the TRC had to ensure that the complainants’ privacy was protected, how it would move ahead in the context that the government had decided to extend the tenure by one year, and what plans it had to ensure that the victims got timely reparations.

“We understand that establishing truth might take some time. But nothing has barred you from distributing reparations. We need to educate our children now. No matter how big the amount is, if we do not get it when we need it the most, it’s of no use,” said Maina Karki of Jajarkot whose husband was killed during the conflict.

Suman Adhikari, chairman of Conflict Victims Common Platform, said the TRC members should make it clear what they did everyday from 10:00am to 5:00pm in the office as not a single complaint had been investigated so far. “You should tell us what you are going to do in the next one year to convince the victims that they will get justice,” he said. “The truth is you are still not clear as to what you are going to do with 61,000 complaints.”

In his reply, TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung acknowledged that the commission had failed to meet the expectations of the victims for various reasons, and said that investigations into the complaints were under way.   He also reiterated that a mere term extension would not solve the problem unless the government ensured amendment to Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 in line with the Supreme Court verdict and provided necessary human and financial resources to TRC.