The Government Should Take Action against Those Included in the List of Human Rights Violators

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) organized a program on October 15, 2020 and made public the names of human rights violators. The commission has made public the list of human rights violators in its report ’20 Years of the Commission: Recommendations of the Commission and Status of Implementation’. As soon as this report was made public, the commission has been without officials since October 18, 2020. Law professor Govind Sharma Poudyal is a former member of the commission. Here is an excerpt from a conversation between INSEConline Nepali Editor Ramesh Prasad Timilsina with Poudyal about the list of human rights violators:

The list was publicized twords the end of your tenure. What does this indicate?

 In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the National Human Rights Commission Act, we have made public the names of human rights violators. When officials before us did not publish such a list, the proportion of human rights violations increased. The government also showed reluctance to implement the recommendations made by the Human Rights Commission. The government’s indifference is evident in our recently published report, ’20 Years of the National Human Rights Commission: Recommendations and Implementation of the Commission ‘. The Commission has recommended 1,994 complaints to the Government of Nepal from its inception to 2076/07. Of them, 162 (13.56%) were not fully implemented, 444 (37.15% were not partially implemented and 589 (49.29%) were not fully implemented. This figure shows that almost half of the recommendations have not been implemented. The National Human Rights Commission Act says that the recommendations made by the commission should be implemented. The Supreme Court has also said that the recommendations made by the commission should be implemented anyway. The government of Nepal does not seem to have complied with the constitutional order, legal system and even the order of the Supreme Court. After the recommendations of the commission were not followed, questions started coming up on the commission. Civil society and the media began to question the legitimacy of the commission.

What is the list based on? 

The commission will investigate any human rights violations and recommend it to the government to identify the human rights violators and punish the perpetrators and ensure justice for the victims. However, the government has not been able to ensure justice for the victims for 20 years. Due to which impunity remained. Impunity did not end there. After we publish this list, it is the responsibility of the government to implement it. The constitution and the law states that a list of human rights violators should be published. The Commission has fulfilled its obligation. The Commission has made public the list of individuals and organizations identified as human rights violators. It will be looked at by the international community and civil society. Our expectation is that the Attorney General’s Office will now prosecute the Government of Nepal.

More than half of your recommendation has not been implemented by the government. Why didn’t you decide in time? 

Some complaints are pending from time of commission’s establishment. Earlier, the National Human Rights Commission did not have sufficient manpower. There were no resources. Even the existing employees were not adequately trained. Due to these circumstances, work could not be done on time before. The commission has not been able to work on time knowing that ‘late justice is also injustice’.

It is clear in the Act that the complainant should be informed within three months of receiving the complaint. It has not been implemented. Now there will be no delay from the commission.

You also took a long time to fulfill your constitutional obligation…

Yes, this is the work that needs to be done beforehand. And, it is also a regular process. It has been praised as it has never been done before. We have made public the list of human rights violators, not to be praised, but to fulfill our constitutional and legal obligations. This is a regular process. But, we started a work that was not done before. That may be the reason for some praise. Most of the commission’s recommendations date back to the conflict. If the blacklist had been made public in this way, the proportion of human rights violations would have decreased! If the commission had made the list public from time to time, the general public would have known in advance that Koko was a human rights violator. The government would also be more accountable. The government has been saying that it has implemented the recommendations of the commission a lot. Not only that, the government should also issue a report on the implementation of the recommendations made by the commission. Other JJs also said that the government should take action against those included in the list of human rights violators. The government should also show the list of actions taken on the recommendation of the commission on this date. Our term is over. Incoming officials need to regularly monitor the public list and the process of action. You may not have to publish such a long list. The Commission remains responsible for the implementation of past recommendations. The Commission should play a role in making the government accountable for the protection and promotion of human rights.

Were there only 288 human rights violators in 20 years?

This list has been published on the basis of the cases registered with the Commission. About 7,000-8,000 complaints are yet to be heard. The list goes on and on. As the commission makes its decision, it adds to it, but it does not decrease. This is a list published on the basis of the decisions made by the Commission till 2077 BS. There are allegations that the ‘big fish’ was released after the National Human Rights Commission released the list of human rights violators. You have to look at the list of 288 people. You have to read it before making an accusation. Looking at this list, no one feels that the ‘big fish’ is missing. The list of violators is not a matter of publicity. No one is included in the list. Complaints received by the commission and based on the facts received. The list includes names of army chiefs, police chiefs, and people who have become chiefs of the Election Commission. Who could be a bigger fish? If anyone feels this way, they should understand that the complaint is yet to be settled. Some of the complaints are not only in the commission but also in the courts. The commission cannot make any decision on the cases in the court. We can only investigate if the court allows it. The ‘big fish’ may be stuck in a court case. However, the list issued by the commission is not intended to exempt anyone. Everyone should be clear on this.

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