We Plan Our Programs With An Aim To Guarantee Human Rights

In 2016, when the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development established 753 local levels in Taplejung district, Paktanglung Rural Municipality was created by amalgamating the Village Development Committees of Sawik Sawadin, Khejnim, Lingkhim, Ikhabu, Tapethok, Lelep, and Olangchungola. The total area of Paktanglung rural municipality is 1,858.51 square kilometers whereas the population of this rural municipality is 12017.

Here is an excerpt from the discussion between Rajan Limbu, the Chairperson of Paktanglung Rural Municipality, and Elina Diyali, INSEC’s representative, Taplejung highlighting the topic of human rights

What is the human rights situation of women, children, Dalits and people with disabilities at the local level?

We are conducting an awareness program to promote women’s right to education as mandated by the constitution at the local level. Our focus is on fostering a sense of equal rights for children, addressing ancestral property matters, and eliminating gender discrimination. We have been working on equality issues. We have initiated adult education programs to empower illiterate individuals with literacy. The Dalit population in our village is relatively small. We are conducting awareness programs as well as skill development targeting the Dalit community. Local authorities have prioritized the provision of service facilities for individuals with disabilities. Disability-friendly toilets have been constructed in the school building. We have planned to organize a program in the current financial year to guarantee human rights.

How does the local-level judicial committee contribute to the protection of human rights for individuals?

I believe that our judicial committee is effectively functioning in the field of human rights. In some instances, cases are settled within the village due to concerns about the potential loss of respect when formal complaints are made. The geographical challenges have made it difficult for individuals to access the judicial committee and file complaints. As a result, only a limited number of complaints have been brought before the committee. Nevertheless, in all the complaints received, we have considered the rights and interests of both parties and facilitated resolutions through advice, suggestions, and constructive discussions. The absence of complaints regarding the administration of justice suggests that human rights have been effectively upheld, and the protection of these rights within the community appears to be satisfactory.

In the annual policy and budget, what specific plans and provisions have been established for the welfare and support of senior citizens, children, and pregnant women within the community?

In the case of senior citizens, we have initiated a program for the distribution of social security allowances, delivering them directly to the homes of eligible individuals as soon as the program is determined. Along with allowances, we send health workers to their homes every month for routine health check-ups of senior citizens. We have also been distributing medicine based on the need after the health examination. For children, we have enhanced the government-provided lunch program by supplementing it with an additional five rupees, thereby offering a total of 20 rupees for the well-being of the beneficiaries. We have issued a procedure to restrict eating junk food for lunch. We have been monitoring the schools regularly. We have implemented a free ambulance service to facilitate the transportation of pregnant and postpartum women from their homes to healthcare facilities for timely and safe access to medical care. We have been providing free service even up to the district headquarters. In cases where travel outside the district is necessary, we have instituted a system where only 50 percent of the revenue fee is required to be paid for ambulance services to prevent misuse of this valuable resource. The local level is also waiving the revenue fee for individuals with limited financial means, ensuring that the ambulance service remains accessible to all, regardless of their financial status. The local level has instituted a program wherein pregnant women who consistently attend regular pregnancy check-ups are provided with 7,000 rupees to support the procurement of nutritious food for both the mother and child.

What is the current status of health, education, and access to clean drinking water, and what measures have been implemented to enhance these essential services?

The Paktanglung Rural Municipality places a strong emphasis on the well-being and health of its residents.That’s why after being elected, we used the vehicle used by the village Chairperson as an ambulance. Our main objective is that no citizen should lose their life without getting medical treatment. We have bought two ambulances with a grant from the Chinese government. We are offering services at the Tapethok Health Post for the upper region and at the Simwa Health Post for the lower region, ensuring accessibility and convenience for residents across the entire area.

We have arranged for medical services staffed by qualified MBBS doctors and laboratories, available for three days each week at both the Sinwa and Tapethok Health Post. In addition to the 98 types of government-provided free medicines, we have established two pharmacies providing free services in both Sinwa and Tapethok Health Post. We have strategically established health units in various locations based on the identified requirements and healthcare needs of the community. We have instituted a policy that prohibits the collection of funds from students up to the 12th grade under any circumstances. We have initiated English medium instruction for students from grades one to five. Regarding the provision of clean drinking water, there is no shortage of clean drinking water in the village. .

We are trying to ensure accessible drinking water for all by distributing pipes to areas affected by flood and landslide damage to natural springs. Water tank construction has been completed at multiple locations.

Has the fifth national action plan on human rights been assigned to the local level to increase awareness on human rights? How knowledgeable are you about this topic?

I am aware of this matter. We are working sensitively on the issues of education, health, drinking water and local employment. All these matters fall under human rights. We have not made plans and programs in the field of human rights yet. However, we will  work according to the plan in the coming days.

Has a local-level coordination committee been established, with the local level Chairman serving as the coordinator, for the execution of the fifth national action plan on human rights? Are you informed about the existence of such a committee? What has the committee been doing?

I am aware of this matter. However, we have not come across any situation in our local level where a local level coordination committee has been formed to carry out human rights programs.

With the absence of established practices in our district, this topic has not received much attention. However, in the current financial year, we plan to address this matter as well. We are committed to raising awareness that emphasizes the importance of respecting the rights of all individuals and refraining from discrimination based on factors such as caste, religion, gender, and ethnicity.