Comment on HRC Hearing and NGOs’ Participation
The hearing of Nepal’s second periodic review report on ICCPR 1966 has been held in Geneva, Switzerland in a 110th meeting of United Nations Human Rights Committee from March 17 to 19. Government of Nepal submitted its first periodic review report to Human Rights Committee on 1994 after ratifying the Covenant in 1991. Nepal submitted its review report of the period of 1995-2010 in 2012 though there is a provision of submitting the report in every five years. The HRC had already recommended the government to implement the rights protected by the covenant. The recommendation directs the government to implement these provisions such as impunity, National Human Rights Commission, violence against women, caste discrimination, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary arrest as per the provision of the treaty. What effects will Nepal have after the discussion held in Geneva and the recommendations provided? Here are the viewpoints of Human Rights activists and conflict victims, compiled by our representative Ramesh Prasad Timalsina.
Bhawani Prasad Kharel,
President, National Human Rights Foundation
In United Nation’s 110th review meeting, the civil and political rights of the country have been reviewed. The questions posed to the representatives of Nepal from the international community have pressurized Government of Nepal to fulfill its human rights commitments and its obligation towards human rights and I think it will be beneficial to Nepal.
The government submitted its periodic review after a long time. At the same time the shadow report has been presented on behalf of civil society of Nepal. The discussion has been held regarding this report on March 17, 18 and 19. They take the cases from civil society in serious manner. That is why the government representatives were grilled with many questions in a meeting. The UN sends recommendations to the government. It also monitors the situation and recommends government to follow it up via human rights view point and keeps on monitoring the issue. If the government is unable to fulfill its commitment, it can raise a question at an international platform for not fulfilling the obligations of treaties and conventions. The international community will give a tremendous pressure on the government. After expressing its commitment towards human rights at an international level, the government cannot brush it aside once it makes pledge at the international platform.
Professor Kapil Shrestha
Former National Human Rights Commission Member
The Government of Nepal has not demonstrated its seriousness towards the issues of human rights and implementation. From the beginning, Nepal has been accused of hurrying in ratifying the United Nations and other international treaties but lacking the will on their implementation and adherence. The report presented by the Government of Nepal is bit a surficial. Nepal is a country having a high potentiality of gaining achievements. However, in absence of willingness and honesty in politicians, administrators and law makers, Nepal has always been in an awkward position and been embarrassed in the international arena. This trend has not stopped. I am very worried as a human rights activist. Is it not a time to correct ourselves? It is not that our leaders, administrators and law makers don’t know that. The only thing is that we are not serious about it. Nowadays, the other countries are taking these issues very seriously.
Shri Ram Adhikari,
Officer, National Human Rights Commission
The main job of National Human Rights Commission is to exert pressure on the state. Nepal, being a state party to ICCPR, is obliged to address the recommendations provided by Human Rights Committee. The provisions in the Covenant state that a state party has an obligation to submit its periodic report every four years and has a responsibility to implement these recommendations of the report. It is the state’s responsibility to amend the law, establish Truth and Reconciliation Commission or enforce law, if necessary. It is not necessary for Nepal to wait for the recommendation from United Nations to prosecute the perpetrators of human rights violation. However, it is an additional pressure on the government to receive the HRC recommendations from while the state is showing its insouciance towards violation.
Laxmi Pokhrel, ICTJ
The issues regarding the Civil and Political Rights have been discussed in the meeting and the HRC has given its recommendations in specific subjects. The Committee has spoken about the job needed to be done by Government of Nepal regarding transitional justice and the violence against women and also has asked the government to give feedback within a year whether it has fulfilled its responsibility and liability or not. As for being a state party to ICCPR, Government of Nepal is obliged to fulfill the recommendations issued by the HRC. If not, the state will be perceived in the international community as incapable of fulfilling its obligation.
Daughter of Rajendra Dhakal an Enforced Disappearance Victim
This is simply a business. May be it is right from their side to raise the issue to the serious international community. I don’t think that the people who came back from Geneva can heal our wounds because they can’t feel our pain. I want this business to end as soon as possible by creating a better human rights situation in the country. We want our pain to be addressed. The Universal Periodic Review has made the government aware and made them realize that the government has to face the questions from international community for failing to meet its obligation. However, I don’t see the concerned authorities are serious and sensitive about this issue. If they were serious we would not have to go through this situation.
Son of Muktinath Adhikari, killed by Maoists during the armed conflict
We think the recommendations that came up after the discussion in the HRC will have a positive effect. Government cannot lie to international community like it does to us. The state does not have any moral power to lie after the discussion that was held in Geneva. The victims of serious human rights violation hope that the government would work to improve the situation of human rights in Nepal. We have a hope that our case will be addressed by the state in coming days.
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