The National Human Rights Commission has started field monitoring to take stock of potential cases of human rights violation in districts that were ravaged by the recent floods and landslides.

Issuing a press statement, the rights body said its central and provincial offices were closely monitoring and watching the rights situation after rain-induced disasters claimed dozens of lives and rendered hundreds of people homeless.

As per the preliminary monitoring report, districts such as Baitadi, Dadeldhura, Bajhang, Humla, Kalikot, Dhankuta, Panchthar, Ilam, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Nawalparasi and others in Sudurpaschim Province and Province 1 had been worst hit by flash floods and landslides triggered by incessant rainfall.

"These provinces not only suffered a huge loss of lives and property but also witnessed untold damage to farmers as the disasters destroyed harvested paddy in farming pockets," the NHRC said. People, especially farmers lost other food crops and livestock to the floods and landslides. Many settlements have been submerged by floods, in addition to road connectivity, telephone and internet services have been cut off in many places.

The rights body said that people were deprived of free movement due to the damage in various sections of national highways in disaster-hit areas.

The NHRC reminded that the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act 2017 had mandated the state to carry out search, rescue and relief operations, while relocating the victims to place from away from hazardous zones. It also urged the government to respond to disasters by coordinating and collaborating with stakeholders.

Similarly, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 requires the state to ensure the safety of lives and property, human rights, livelihoods, housing and other basic needs of people at the onset of the disaster.

The NHRC has called on the government and stakeholders to protect the lives and property of people through effective search, rescue, relief, rehabilitation and restoration works in disaster affected areas through coordination and collaboration.

The government has also been told to provide treatment to the injured and psycho-social counselling to persons traumatised by the disaster, while upholding the human rights of citizens.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.