Kathmandu, March 30, 2007

Former Supreme Court (SC) justice and chairman of the interim constitution drafting committee, Laxman Prasad Aryal, today expressed “shock” over the “disappearance” of a clause on ending impunity in the final interim constitution.

“While drafting the interim constitution we had included a clause on ending impuntiy. We had thought that impunity would now come to an end. But the exclusion of the clause in the final draft came as a surprise,” Aryal told a workshop jointly organised by the International Court of Jurist (ICJ) and the Capacity Development of National Human Rights Commission (CDNHRC).

The workshop was aimed at increasing awareness among human rights defenders on the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to lobby for its ratification by the Nepal government. Aryal suggested the government immediately ratify the Rome Statue and put an end to impunity.

Saying that disappearances have been a glaring example of human rights violation in the country, Aryal said, “The government has not been serious on ending impunity by bringing the human rights violators to book.” UNDP Resident Representative to Nepal, Matthew Kahane, said every individual’s fundemantal human rights have to be respected. He also lauded the NHRC’s efforts in trying to put an end to impunity.

Annapurna region witnesses greater tourist arrivals

Kaski, March 30, 2007

Number of tourists coming for trekking to the Annapurna region has increased significantly.

With the increase of tourists on the trekking trails, business of local businessmen have also picked up. Locals are also doing their best in making tourists feel welcome in their village. “I was most impressed with the way local women welcome tourists”, a Japanese tourist Masayo Kiyata said. The owner of Namaste Guest House situated at Tolka in Kaski, who was busy serving dinner to almost one-dozen tourists on Monday night, said, “The number of tourists has increased significantly nowadays compared to earlier times.”

Similarly, owner of a restaurant at Deurali of Lumle VDC, Sun Maya Gurung said sale of refreshments and other snacks has increased in her restaurant with the increase in tourists trekking in the region. The tourists come for trekking in the region mostly in March, April and May months.

The counter incharge of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Laxman Khanal at Damsite stated that on an average some 100 tourists come for trekking in Annapurna region daily.

Earlier, the number used to be mere three dozen. Almost 60 per cent of tourists visiting Pokhara opt to trek in Annapurna region. The tourists have to acquire permission to go trekking in the Annapurna region.