Bardiya Commemorates 11th International Day for the Right to the Truth

  March 24, 2024 By: INSEC

The 11th International Day for the Right to Truth was celebrated in Bardiya through a series of programs, emphasizing the importance of addressing serious human rights violations and upholding the dignity of victims, as well as advocating for the right to truth.

International Day for the Right to Truth is celebrated worldwide on the 24 March for the right to the truth and the dignity of the victims related to the violation of human rights.

On December 21, 2010, the United Nations Assembly passed a decision to celebrate March 24 as the Right to Truth Day. During the 10-year violent conflict in Nepal, most of the missing people were from Bardiya. Even after 17 years of the comprehensive peace agreement in Nepal, the situation of disappeared victims has not yet been made public.

Speaking at the program, Federal Parliament member Shanti Chaudhary expressed her sadness over the lack of disclosure regarding the situation  of citizens who disappeared during the 10-year war. Emphasizing the right of families of missing persons from the conflict to obtain truth and closure, she urged the government to promptly address the demands of victims through hearings. She added that she has been constantly raising issues on behalf of the victim and is ready to stand up  and work for the victim’s family in the future.

Dwarika Kumari Adhikari, Chief of the office of the National Human Rights Commission in Nepalgunj, asserted that the prolonged absence of hearings regarding the status of disappeared persons even  after the years of the conflict is a serious violation of human rights. She highlighted that the situation of missing persons not being made public has led to social, cultural, and legal challenges. She further noted that some women whose husbands disappeared are deprived of social security funds. It is the right of the victim’s family to get information about the truth. He also said that since the government has not initiated a hearing even after the recommendations made by the commission, it is necessary to hold a hearing.

INSEC Lumbini Province Coordinator Bhola Mahat stated that the families has been searching for the whereabouts of the disappeared members for 15 to 20 years. However, the situation of the missing individuals cannot be made public. He emphasized, “The state has failed to provide information about the whereabouts of the disappeared persons.

We are celebrating the International Day of  Right to Truth, despite of the existing rights to know about the truth.  In the peace agreement in Nepal, it was stipulated that the status of the deceased be disclosed within 60 days. However,  the status of missing persons remains a mystery till this day.

The government should prioritize making the situation of missing families public as soon as possible. This will enable the families of the victims to learn the truth and find justice. Chairperson Kamal Prasal Pandey of the Bardiya District Court Bar Association  said that the Association is in favor of human rights and justice. He expressed his commitment to help the victim’s family if they need legal assistance for justice.

He emphasized that there should be no delay in providing legal and social justice to the families of missing persons. Pandey stated that since the families of the victims have the right to know the truth, they should not be deprived of that right.

Prijma Singh Tharu, director of the Tharu Women Upliftment Center, highlighted that the families of the missing have been encountering various challenges. These include financial difficulties at home, mental stress, and some family members becoming addicted to drugs.

On one hand, families are dealing with internal issues, while on the other hand, they are advocating for the disclosure of the status of missing persons. Therefore, it is crucial for the government to publicize information about disappearances so that the victims can uncover the truth.

Similarly, District Administration Office Assistant Chief District Officer Roshan Kumar affirmed that it is the right of the families of the disappeared to know the truth. He further stated that if the issues of the victim’s family are brought to the office, they will provide assistance and support.

Likewise, Man Bahadur Chaudhary, Program Coordinator of the Conflict Victims Committee, mentioned that to preserve the memories of the families of the victims, they have initiated storytelling about the families of the disappeared individuals. He emphasized the importance of revealing the truth about the missing persons to their families.

The programme was organized by the coordination between the Conflict Victims Committee, Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), Tharu Women Upliftment Center, Federation of Journalists, Bardiya District Court Bar Association, Nepal Red Cross, TPO Nepal, Civil Society Network. The rally started from Matangi Chowk to District Police Office, District Administration Office, Bardiya, Radhakrishna Chowk .  It was concluded with a discussion about the matter at Bijaya Guest House.

Prakash Paudel