EDITORIAL: Amend TRC law
The TRC and CIEDP will not get international recognition if they fail to give justice to the victims
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) are part and parcel of the peace process that remained instrumental in ending the decade-long conflict in 2006.
The two commissions were however formed on February 10, 2015, nine years after the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was signed between the then rebel Maoists and the government, with a view to giving justice to victims of the conflict and book the human rights perpetrators.
The main objectives of the peace process were to draft a new constitution through the election of a Constituent Assembly, manage the Maoist combatants and give justice to conflict victims through a transitional justice mechanism as per the international standard and the Supreme Court verdict.
The second Constituent Assembly adopted the new constitution and all the Maoist combatants were either integrated in the Nepali Army or given voluntary retirement.
But the only aspect of the peace process — giving justice to the conflict victims and punishing the rights perpetrators – is yet to be concluded though the two commissions formed with a mandate of two years which will expire on February 9, 2017.
It was expected that the TRC and CIEDP would conclude their jobs within the deadline. But both the commissions have just been able to collect as many as 57,753 complaints of rights violations from across the country within nine months.
The TRC has sought more human and financial resources from the government to process the complaints received.
The officials of both the commissions also want the existing law governing them amended to make it compatible with the Supreme Court verdict and international norms and principles dealing with the cases related to the conflict during which as many as 13,000 people were killed either by the State or by the rebels.
TRC chairman Surya Kiran Gurung recently met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and urged the latter to create a conducive environment for settling the conflict-era cases with more logistic support and amendment to the TRC Act.
Gurung is even learnt to have threatened to quit his office if the government fails to provide the required support from the government and make necessary amendments to the law, which, in his words, is incompatible with the international norms and principles and Supreme Court verdict.
Rights activists have termed the Act more inclined towards reconciliation than imparting justice to the conflict-era victims.
While it is the responsibility of the government to provide required logistic support to the constitutional body the TRC chief should also not resort to any cheap publicity stunt to make his case strong.
Whatever issues he may have discussed with the PM should be kept confidential as per his official status. On the other hand, the government should be ready to amend the TRC and CIEDP related laws if it does not meet the international norms and principles.
Both the commissions were formed to provide justice and reparation to the conflict-era victims and heal the deep-rooted wounds of the conflict through punitive actions to the human rights violators.
The TRC and CIEDP will not get international recognition if they fail to give justice to the victims.
A step forward
The Human Organ Transplant Centre in Bhaktapur is reported to have conducted an open heart surgery Wednesday, the first since it was established.
This shows that advanced treatment can be provided in the country and most patients no longer need to go abroad as they can receive the treatment here at a relatively low cost. So far, the success rate for open heart surgery done in Nepal is reckoned to be 99 per cent.
This is an important achievement, for the number of heart patients is increasing in Nepal every year particularly with changing lifestyle. Five per cent of the people in the capital city are estimated to suffer from heart diseases and out of them 20 per cent require immediate surgery.
Diabetes and hypertension are two major causes for heart disease.
Considering that many patients are suffering from heart ailments, the upgrading of the quality of the services within e country and the expansion of such service centres to many places will greatly help take care of the curative aspects.