Give more teeth to NHRC, says human rights activist

Kathmandu, February 18:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should be given more teeth to safeguard peoples’ rights and democracy, a legal expert said today.

Addressing an interaction organised by International Human Rights and Duties Institution- Nepal (IHRADIN), general secretary of Forum for Protection of Human Rights Gopal Shivakoti Chintan said the NHRC should be given more power to protect human rights in the country.

“NHRC should be made strong enough to monitor and file case against anybody or any institution, which violates human rights. Having a powerful NHRC means controlling human rights violation,” he said, adding that the King should promulgate an ordinance to amend the existing NHRC Act 1997.

The provision that the government compensates for violation of human rights meted out by its official should be changed and those who violate human rights should be made to pay for the compensation, he said.

“When an irresponsible officer or his decision makes people suffer, the compensation should not be drawn from the national coffer but from the person. The army keeps killing innocent civilians and the compensation goes from the taxpayers’ money. It should be stopped,” he said.

He also urged people to pressurise the government to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions 1949, and others relating to the Protection of the Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.

He said that the only way to find human rights in this situation is to force King Gyanendra to go back to the situation when the Constitution 1990 is fully active and the King is limited to the state where he belongs.

Shantaram Mulmi, the general secretary at NGO Federation Nepal, said the government is running away from its responsibility. “Before paying tax and supporting this government, the government must make it clear whether it takes the people as its assets or liabilities,” he said.

IHRADIN is a newly formed organisation to fight for human rights in Nepal. Along with human rights, it supports women’s rights, racial equality and equal rights of speakers of all languages. It also advocates for freedom of speech, academic freedom, regional rights and rights of employment. Presenting a concept paper on the insitution, Major Poorna Singh Khatri, senior vice-president, said the responsibility of protection of rights falls on the state and other institutions depend upon them.