AHRC urges govt to improve human rights situation

Kathmandu, December 8

The Asian Human Rights Commission said Nepal saw no progress in the overall promotion and protection of human rights in 2017.

“Conflict victims have been left in limbo with the transitional justice bodies doing nothing, except collecting some 60,000 complaints. Although the deadline for the bodies to accomplish their task is ending on February 9, 2018, they have not yet begun investigation due to a lack of expertise, finances and political will. Conflict victims have complained that the commissions are interviewing them and preparing documents for formality rather than genuine truth seeking,” a press released issued by the AHRC said today.

The Supreme Court’s order to amend the law regarding amnesty has not been implemented yet and there is no strong political will to resolve the cases. As a result, victims wanting closure are increasingly worried about whether justice will ever be served. Meanwhile, those affected by the devastating 2015 earthquake have been further victimised by the government’s utter inefficiency. Even in 2017, the government has not managed to provide all the victims with adequate resources and loans to rebuild their homes, the AHRC said.

More than two years later, the victims of the April 2015 earthquake are still languishing in tattered and leaking tents. It is shocking to see how little has been given to people in spite of the huge donations received. With $4.1 billion dollars at the government’s disposal, all that is required is for the sleeping government to wake up and address the issues.

According to the release, continuous four-day heavy rains beginning on August 10 triggered floods and landslides across the country, causing a great loss of human life and property. Most parts of Tarai were affected by the floods, and more than 150 people died. Thousands more were injured and lost their homes and property in this flood. With floods and landslides being an annual disaster in Nepal, it is high time the government initiated long-term measures to minimise damage and casualties. The government needs to put in place advance warning systems across Nepal, as well as adequate measures to prevent losses from floods, it suggested.

“Nepal’s police and judicial institutions were also marred by controversy surrounding the selection of the top police chief and the filing of an impeachment motion against the chief justice. Both instances indicate politicisation of the two institutions.

“For the past several years, the AHRC has been reporting on the widespread practice of abuse of power by the Nepal Police. The extent of abuse of power and politicisation within the police today is such that even senior police officers are targeted,” the release said.

With regard to the discontent in the Tarai region, the government should analyse the problems and issues and address the root cause of discontent. The government’s negligence has led people in Tarai to take extreme measures and there is considerable risk that the problem may spiral into an armed conflict. The wise course of action for the Nepalese government is to start dialogue with communities in Madhes and Madhesi leaders, rather than resorting to excessive use of police force and shootings, it said.

The AHRC has urged the Government of Nepal to move beyond partisan interests and look at the bigger picture of what serves the country best and said an efficient criminal justice system and transparent government administration are crucial to realising peoples’ rights and to move Nepal forward.