UN rights experts critique Nepal again


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A tree blocks a road near Butwal, Nepal during the Maoist conflict in 2005. Photo: Marty Logan

United Nations experts have critiqued draft changes to the Nepal law on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), says an editorial in this week’s Nepali Times.

In April, the experts from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, known as ‘special procedures’, took the Nepal Government to task for its slow, faulty progress in transitional justice. This time, their letter focuses on three proposals for the NHRC Act:

  1. Giving the attorney-general the power to approve the NHRC’s investigations
  2. Barring the institution from receiving any funding external to its government budget
  3. Preventing the NHRC from opening regional of sub-regional offices.

On the first point, the experts note that the attorney-general is appointed by the government so his decisions about the NHRC could be subject to political interference. They also argue that limiting the commission’s funding sources — so, making it reliant on government money — could a way of controlling the NHRC’s work.

Finally, the experts note that they are concerned that if passed, the changes could mean  closure of the NHRC’s existing 10 regional and sub-regional offices in the country.

Government ignores recommendations

Since the NHRC came into being in 2000, just 12% percent of its 810 recommendations have been fully implemented, 48% were implemented partially and 39% are under consideration. These  statistics are misleading as the only recommendations acted upon concern compensation — those calling for action against perpetrators have been ignored.

Nepal is now a member of the UN’s foremost human rights body — the 47-member Human Rights Council — and has announced it will run for a seat for the 2021-23 term.

Read the full editorial in this week’s Nepali Times.

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