Nepal | August 15, 2020

Independence Day 2020

New Constitution

Ensuring human rights

Shobhakar Parajuli
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Unlike some other governments in the world, Nepal’s government recognises the human rights of all citizens in the new Constitution of Nepal. But despite the government’s recognition, our human rights are still violated

ConstitutionNepal has gone through dramatic political transformation after the promulgation of the new constitution.  Now, there is a glimmer of hope that Nepal can make up for lost time to ensure political stability and economic growth for its long-suffering people.  The right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are essential elements in the promotion of a democracy. As a democratic nation, the government should create a climate to give respect and priority for minority or dissenting group’s view for peace and prosperity. It is high time for the Nepalese people to lead the nation towards economic prosperity through stable peace, good social harmony and security. Only then will it enjoy the human rights in its full potential.

Full and equal rights for all citizen means that any citizen, no matter what his or her caste, ethnicity, religion, or age should be treated fairly and given equal respect for a quality standard of living. To achieve equal rights, people must also have access to their political system. They must be able to express their views, practice any religion they want and be protected from physical harm. If someone is accused of a crime they need to be given the opportunity to adequately defend themselves.

Human rights are protected as legal and inalienable fundamental rights in the constitution by democratic nations of the world including Nepal. These rights are applicable everywhere and at every time and the same for everyone in the sense of being universal and egalitarian. At present, the major political parties have made the assurance of guaranteeing  human rights in the new constitution of Nepal. But only assurance is not enough. The government and the related authorities should take diplomatic and rational decision against grave violation of the human rights. Moreover, there should be a strong feeling of social justice to all the people of the country. The feelings of equal justice are felt when everyone in the country is treated fairly, given respect and protected by the law.

Every citizen of the nation wants an identity, existence, and dignity. If there is the feeling of losing such rights by the people, they will protest. Bandhs, strikes and use of force are used in the name of agitation. But these activities cannot guarantee lasting solution to these issues. Such kinds of activities are against the rights of  humans. Moreover, there is an adverse effect on industries, educational institutions, business and transport system. Therefore, the government and the agitating parties have to find out an amicable solution to the present crisis by demonstrating maximum flexibility for ensuring the fundamental rights of the people or for human rights of the people. Violence cannot and should not be a solution to the problems. Dialogues and talks can help  resolve the issues.

Unlike some other governments in the world, Nepal’s government recognizes the human rights of all citizens in the new Constitution of Nepal. But despite the government’s recognition, our human rights are still violated. This happens, in part, because our government does not have the resources or capacity to change behavior throughout the entire country. Another important reason why our human rights continue to be violated is because many of us are not aware of what our rights are or how we can protect them. From a human right perspective, safe passage, free movement, protection, and dignified treatment may be seen to complement Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Everyone has the right of freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state; and the right to leave any country, including his/her own and to return to his or her country.

In this regard, the most important human rights issues of the Nepalese people come up while they are travelling abroad for study, work etc. to Europe and America. They are facing difficulties and inhumane activities in the airports of those countries. These actions are against human rights, democracy and justice. As there is the provision of free travelling on the basis of only passports among European and SAARC countries, it should be implemented globally.

Everyone, including the Nepali people, should get chance to travel freely anywhere with a  passport. So, the concerned authorities of the government should raise a strong voice in favor of it. It seems necessary to amend the existing definition of  human rights with the changing need and demand of the people and time.

Everything is changeable in this world except the word ‘change’ itself. The concept of globalization and open economy system help to make quick change in  society and nations. This is somehow good if it is taken positively for the sake of the development and prosperity of the state. It is the responsibility of the leading political parties and concerned people to implement the concept of positive change in a concrete and effective way for betterment of the nation.

Though the new constitution marks an important milestone, chance to fix the politics, bring dissenters back  focusing on economic development of the nation,  the success of it largely depends on how the political leadership executes it. Challenges are ahead to make it a workable reality for affluence and well being of the people. The dream of prosperous Nepal will be true if all political parties and concerned authorities are united together.

A version of this article appears in print on October 13, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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