Govt weakening rights bodies, say activists

Kathmandu, July 20:

Some human rights activists today accused the eight-party alliance government of trying to weaken human rights institutions.

“The government wants to weaken human rights institutions so that it can work in an autocratic manner,” Sushil Pyakurel, a former member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said at a programme organised by the NHRC. “Why did the government appoint secretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Dr Kul Ratna Bhurtel, as chief executive of the NHRC?”

“The rights body does not need an administrator; it needs a chairman and members to protect rights of the individuals,” he said.

During our tenure, we tried to make the government accountable for protection of human rights, he said, adding, “The government does not want to appoint chairman and members in the NHRC because it is afraid of the NHRC.”

“The government wants to do whatever it wants; it does not want to protect human rights and maintain the rule of law.” Another former member of the NHRC, Prof Kapil Shrestha, said that the government wants to be above the law.

Another rights activist Subodh Pyakurel said the eight-party alliance does not want to appoint NHRC chairman and members because it wants to promote impunity. Officiating secretary of the constitutional rights body, Padma Mathema, stressed the need to appoint independent an chairman and members in the NHRC to protect the rights of the people.

Meanwhile, the rights activists today formed a 13-member committee under the coordination of a former member of the NHRC, Gaurishankar Lal Das, to lobby for the appointment of officials in the NHRC.