Absence of TRC Chair affects works

Kathmandu, February 28

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission seems to be in a state of disarray and there seems to be much confusion regarding  how to carry out its investigation into conflict-era rights violation complaints.

This state of affairs apparently exists at the TRC primarily because of the frequent absence of its top office bearers.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung has been attending office irregularly for the last four weeks. He has not been reported to work since February 12.

Likewise, seniormost TRC member Leela Udashi attended office just today after a two-week vacation, while TRC Secretary Mani Ram Ojha has been away since February 18 and he won’t report to work until March 14.

Other members, who normally report to the office, have also had no business to attend to in the absence of the TRC leadership after extension of the body’s mandate by an additional year.

“No meeting has been held since February 2,” said TRC member Madhabi Bhatta, who had earlier written a formal letter requesting Chairman Gurung to call an immediate meeting of the body to plan investigation-related works.

Udasi also said continuous absence of TRC chairman as well as secretary for a long time didn’t ‘sound right’ after the extension of the transitional justice body’s mandate.

The government had extended the mandate of TRC, along with the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons, by one year on February 10.

As per Section 9 (1) of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, the chairman calls the meetings of the commission.

The delay in holding TRC meetings has affected investigation of more than 58,000 complaints related to conflict-era human rights violations.

Both Bhatta and Udasi confirmed that Gurung had gone incommunicado.

According to Udasi, Gurung had said he ‘could no longer work on the team’— presumably along with Bhatta — with whom he had a heated debate on February 2. Gurung did not respond to The Himalayan Times’ repeated attempts to get a comment.