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Nepal's Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Myth or Reality?
an article by Prakash Khadka

Civil society organizations, human rights defenders, advocates and conflict victims have together to express their great concern over controversial provisions the act for the TRC (the Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and the Committee on Enforced Disappearance.


Women from a conflict-affected community in Jumla

click on photo to enlarge

The Act was passed in parliament by the support from major political party’s whip in April 2014 that provides power to grant amnesty even to those who are involved in crimes under international law. The Act also prohibits legal action in mediated cases, does not recognize the rights of reparation and promotes reconciliation on serious human rights violations. Despite the appeal from the common platform of victims, the President approved the Act in May 2014.

The Act also has ruled out a verdict of Supreme Court of Nepal and is being criticized by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for breaching international law.

It may be raised in the upcoming Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights (UPR) at the United Nations. Although the Human Rights Council is an informal system where everyone can be involved directly or indirectly its effectiveness depends upon the power relation between nations, according to Mr. Rabindra Bhattrai, a Nepali advocate.

Officials from Nepals's peace and reconciliation ministry remained absent from the consultative meeting, which expresses that they are oblivious to what the UPR is all about.

On January 12, the Recommendation Committee which is responsible for nominating chairs and commissioners for the TRC announced a list of candidates for public opinion. People can file via District Peace Committees or District Administration Office (DAO) in ten days.

Unfortunately, most of the victims reside in remote areas that don’t have access of information in such case. It is not possible to files complaints against candidates, and it seems that this announcement was done intentionally amidst the current tension of the constitution assembly, said Mr. Suman Adhikari; a conflict victim.

“We had very high expectation when the Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed in 2006, ever since lobby was started for a TRC, but many things are being covered up”, he argued. A source claimed that political parties have already proposed their own candidate for chairmanship and for commission members who will likely endorse finally.

Mr. Pradip Pokhrel; a member of committee, said that it is hard to find non-political figures for civil concerns; everybody is openly affiliated to a political party and the TRC is influenced by those political figures. According to him, people are deprived of social and economic rights after the conflict in the most remote areas.

A previous UPR seriously questioned the use of impunity in Nepal where powerful perpetrator still openly claim their deeds while the legal system is unable to bring them to justice.

Relief packages that the government provides are mostly being taken by fake victims on the base of their political influence in the districts. A woman from one village tells how she still can’t forget how she was sexually treated, while the eyes of a daughter whose father is still disappeared are not yet dried. Members of destroyed family have not received reparation.

Let there not be a miscarriage of justice; do not let impunity over-rule human right.

DISCUSSION

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Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?

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LATEST READER COMMENT:

The following is excerpted from an article by Ernesto Semán, professor at the University of Richmond in the U.S.   He looks at the recent torture report to the U.S. Senate in the light of the history of U.S. implication in the torture that took place in previous decades in Latin America.  As he points out, the torture is only the most recent expression of American policies that amount to a form of state terrorism.

. . . instead of accepting the significance of the war on terror in undermining the rule of law, the report has served the Obama administration as another component of an ideological spinning wheel. . ...more.


This report was posted on January 18, 2015.