“If the Government Shows Apathy in Implementing any Recommendations, We Will Publish the List”
Commissioner at National Human Rights Commission of Nepal (NHRC-Nepal)
For this issue of INFORMAL, Ramesh Prasad Timalsina interviewed Prakash Wasti Commissioner at National Human Rights Commission of Nepal (NHRC-Nepal) regarding publicizing the name of human rights violators in “Black List”. Excerpts of the interview:
The NHRC’s recommendations are not implemented by the government. Will the names of human rights violators be put in black list?
We have records of previous decisions. In those files, we have the names of such violators. We will remind and urge the government to implement all those recommendations, be it the case of compensation or prosecuting the case against the perpetrators. We already held discussions, including with the Attorney General on this issue. If there is any legal obstacle, let us amend the law. There is parliament and it is not difficult to amend the law. There is a trend of avoiding the issue saying that amendment of law is hard. The chairperson and members of NHRC are all students of law. We have some experiences of solving legal difficulties. We are also thinking towards that way.
We cannot reverse the previous recommendations. The most important thing that we have is commitment to human rights. That is why we cannot think of anything except the implementation of these recommendations and decisions. We have gone through Acts related to National Human Rights Commission. In one of the act, there is a provision of “listing”. The provision states to “listing” the name of human rights violators. We are preparing a working procedure and rule based on this legal provision. This rule does not require permission of other agencies. No one is above the law. We are authorized to make such rule. So if the government shows apathy in implementing any recommendations, we will publish the list. However, we will give chance to the accused violator to defend himself. We will inform them prior to publishing their name in black list and give them a chance to furnish any reasons for not making their names public.
The situation is clear that NHRC recommendations, court orders are not implemented by the government. What are the reasons for not implementing the recommendations?
The main reason of non-implementation of the recommendation is due to the government’s unwillingness. The government or “power” is always blind. The “power” wants everyone to obey it and thinks it is above the law. The government may also have their own difficulties which we don’t know. But if the government has commitment and is devoted to protect human rights, there are always solutions seven too difficult problems. Let us make a law which does not go against the constitution. If the constitution is human rights friendly, there is no question that we cannot make a law according to it.
Will the names in black list be made public?
We are conducting ground works. Working Procedure is being prepared. It might take some time. But we will definitely make the names in black list public. The work that has started should make a long term effect. It has to be sustainable. This needs adequate discussion. We are not alone. There are human rights activists and experts in this field. We will ask for their opinions. We want to reflect a good image of the country across the world regarding human rights. The working procedure and laws that are going to be enacted must be a common property of all people active in this field, not only of NHRC. We are alert and active that all should feel ownership of such laws.
Are such practices seen in international level as well?
Yes. A person who is in the black list shall not get visa for any other country. The jurisdiction for human rights violators is universal. Action will be taken against perpetrators in another country if they no action is taken against them here. In some of the countries, NHRC’s recommendation acknowledging that a civil servant is not a human rights violator is required before promoting a person in administrative field. We have forwarded the concept of training. We urge the human rights activists to join our call to not promote police, army and governmental employees before getting human rights training. We want the training to be mandatory before promotion. We are designing a course for it. Those after receiving human rights training will definitely behave in a human rights friendly manner which might reduce the violations of human rights in coming days. This will develop a culture of human rights in the country.
What kind of initiation the NHRC is taking to include human right issues in school curriculum?
There is a small chapter included in the school curriculum. It was included following the joint initiation of human rights activists and NHRC. It is necessary to transform the course of study and extend it to grade 11 and 12. We have incorporated this into our strategic planning. We have been exerting pressure to include some chapters in college level coursebook as well.
Can you stand the pressure and threat that will come to not make the names in black list public?
The first thing is that I do not think the pressure will come. We work according to the law I do not think that any agency working as per the law would face such problem. Everyone is independent to put their views but they cannot put unnecessary pressure. Everyone has a right to express their views in a disciplined way. They can even protest it. We respect such right. We have already started our work. Till now we have not received any kind of pressure or threat. We are able to deal with such pressure. The unncessary pressure cannot affect us.
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