By Alishba I. Kassim
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
KATHMANDU, Nepal – In the primary Nepali dictionary, there is no word for impunity. This is particularly relevant today as Nepal is the process of formulating a new constitution. Previous constitutions have not dealt with human rights extensively, nor addressed specific areas of impunity. Local human rights groups have been urging the government to promote accountability and acknowledge and address the widespread human rights violations in the country’s new constitution by guaranteeing important rights.
Nepal has been home to rampant human rights violations against men, women, and children throughout its history. Although Nepal is party to several international treatises on human rights, the country is slow to act upon them.
Newly elected Prime Minister Madhav Kumar opined that the role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal is insignificant. He further accused the OHCHR of “paying attention to political events and neglecting major human rights violations.” He also only extended its tenure for three months even though three years were requested.
The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Kedernath Upadhaya, in response commented that the rights body alone cannot guarantee human rights without the help of the government and political parties. The Chairman’s comment is particularly relevant on the eve of writing a new Nepali constitution. The situation in Nepal, as of now, looks bleak since there is a marked communication barrier between human rights agencies, the government, and local political parties.
Perhaps they can start with introducing the word impunity into their dictionaries and their constitution.
For more information, please see:
KantipurOnline – OHCHR Insignificant in Nepal – May 27, 2009
Gulf News – Amnesty International Report on Asia – May 28, 2009
Republica – OHCHR in Nepal Extended by Three Months – May 29, 2009
Asia Foundation – Impunity in Nepal – September 1999