Civil society may push for Item 9 at UN session

Kathmandu, March 9:

Human rights activists said they may push for inclusion of Nepal under Item 9 in the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. However, the government representatives said it will not be imposed against Nepal under any circumstances.

“The possibility of civil society pushing for Item 9 in the UN session cannot be termed an anti-state move considering gross rights violations and the government’s failure to implement its 25-point rights agreement,” said rights activist Padma Ratna Tuladhar. He said the UN session should not make a decision based on the chief of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights - Nepal (OHCHR) Ian Martin’s report.

Mandira Sharma, representative of the civil society, who is participating in the UN session, did not rule out the possibility of such a proposal being tabled in Geneva. The civil society and rights activists are reportedly brain-storming the issue and are likely to reach an agreement soon. Following which, civil society’s concept paper will be presented at the UN meeting. “We may or may not push for Item 9 depending on the government’s commitment,” she said at the Reporters’ Club here today.

She said civil society will only step back from taking such a move if the government showed its commitment to uphold human rights and to ratify the Rome Statute.

However, Diwakar Pant, secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, said: “The UN session will not impose Item 9 against Nepal under any circumstances.” He said Martin’s report has highlighted the government’s achievements on rights front. “We have definitely made efforts to improve rights situation including cases of torture and disappearance amongst others,” he said.

Charan Prasai, chairman of the Human Rights Organisation of Nepal, said the government should be prepared to defend itself at the UN session. “It is not in our hands to impose Item 9 against Nepal but the country is heading towards the direction,” he said.