Commitment to formulate laws for the protection of Human Rights Defenders: Chief Justice 

  October 1, 2022 By: INSEC

Dhurba Kumar Shrestha, Chief Justice of Karnali Province, has shown his commitment to assisting in the formulation of laws that ensure the protection of the rights of Human Rights Defenders. According to Mr. Shrestha, his commitment to this issue stems from the necessity of a legal framework to address the existing problems of Human Rights Defenders.

Mr. Shrestha spoke about his commitment to a thematic interaction program regarding Human Rights Defender’s situation and challenges, organized by INSEC Karnali Province Office, Surkhet at Birnedranagar.

During the program, Lekhnath Bastola, Head of National Human Rights Commission Karnali, the government should guarantee the protection of Human Rights Defenders. According to Mr. Bastola, journalists are pressured by other parties more than state parties. He informed about the prevalence of sexual violence and misbehavior in the media houses.

Mr. Bastola spoke about the commitment of the commission to the protection of Human Rights Defenders. He ensured that the commission is planning to appoint a focal person in Karnali province for the protection of Human Rights Defenders along with prioritizing the issues of protection and capacity building of such defenders.

He focused on the need to end the threats and pressure faced by Human Rights defenders by bringing it within the jurisdiction of the law.

Krishna Waiba, General Secretary of Beyond Beijing Committee, highlighted the comparatively higher safety risk for women journalists compared to men.

Narayan Subedi, Karnali Province Co-ordinator of INSEC, facilitated the discussion on the situation and challenges of Human Rights Defenders. He highlighted that in the context of protection, women, gender minorities, Dalits, and defenders with disabilities working in the field of disability rights are at higher risk. He focused on the need for Human Rights Defenders protection laws at the local and provincial levels.

INSEC presented data for the year 2022 which documents 55 cases of violation of rights of Human Rights Defenders between January and June. Mr. Subedi, further presented Karnali Province, documenting 11 cases of violation of such rights between January and June. He vocalized the responsibility of the stakeholders to create a safe environment for Human Rights Defenders to continue their work.

Suramani Gautam, the former Central Treasurer of Nepal Journalist Association, pointed out the difference in awareness between Human Rights Defenders working in rural regions and those working in the cities and believes that INSEC should initiate talks of capacity building to ensure effective cooperation among the defender’s community.

Lalit Bastola, President of Nepal Journalist Federation, Sanket, emphasized the importance of questions related to the identification and protection of Human Rights Defenders. He also mentioned the existing threat toward Human Rights Defenders from individuals in the position of power.

Yagya Khatri, a media person, talked about the recent trend of using social media as a medium to threaten defenders working in media.

Sita Oli, President of Sancharika Samuha Karnalai, recommended celebrating Human Rights Defenders day by conducting a program regarding the issue of protection of Human Rights Defenders, focusing on rural communities.

According to Krishna Sharma, a media person, the stakeholders view defenders working in media through a biased lens. Echoing this, another media person, Chintamani Sharma, talked about the perilous environment for Human Rights defenders along with the need for stakeholders to deal with this issue in a sensitive manner.

Prabha Kumari Rawat