19 August 2005, Acting Secretary of the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) of Nepal, Mr Kedar Prasad Poudyal submitted
(available at http://www.achrweb.org/Review/2005/85-05-Response01.pdf
) response to ACHR REVIEW titled, "The Ugly Case: NHRC
of Nepal" (available at http://www.achrweb.org/Review/2005/85-05.htm
of Nepal dismissed the ACHR REVIEW as “baseless formulations”
and defended its track-record. As this rejoinder of ACHR REVIEW
shows, the response of the NHRC of Nepal reflects the state
of denial which risks the victims to further human rights
Independence and Impartiality of ACHR
Centre for Human Rights is an independent and impartial non-governmental
organisation. It is with such perspectives in mind that ACHR
in the past had highly praised NHRC of Nepal in its ACHR REVIEW
titled "NHRC of Nepal: Stands tall amidst ruins"
( http://www.achrweb.org/Review/2004/0804.htm ). In the said REVIEW, Asian Centre for Human
Rights stated, “National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
of Nepal stands tall amongst many of its peers from the region
because of its interventions for promotion and protection
of human rights in the ongoing-armed conflicts between the
Maoists and the government of Nepal”.
same ACHR REVIEW was published by Himal South Asia
and The Kathmandu Post and the officials from the NHRC of
Nepal had appreciated it.
Centre for Human Rights has no hesitation to appreciate or
censure any National Human Rights Institution for the kind
of work it does in order to strengthen its functioning and
Whether NHRC is a spook agency?
is the only strength of Asian Centre for Human Rights and
it does not make any unsubstantiated or slanderous allegation
against any government or its institutions.
is aware of the gravity of the allegation that NHRC of Nepal
has "virtually turned into a spook agency" and that
"email communications of the international consultants
to the National Human Rights Commission are being monitored
and forwarded to the NHRC headquarters and to other unconfirmed
was not an allegation but a statement of fact as confided
to Asian Centre for Human Rights by the consultant/s concerned.
is in possession of email communications from the international
consultant/s currently posted with the NHRC of Nepal about
the monitoring of their email communications and subsequent
action taken by the NHRC. ACHR has also been informed about
the lack of security relating to the data and communication
submitted to the NHRC.
at this stage, ACHR would like to protect the identity of
the sources of information because of the contractual obligations
of the consultant/s concerned. In addition, the communications
were private and shared with ACHR in confidence.
At a later stage, subject to the consent of the consultant/s
concerned, ACHR may consider making the email communications
Self-censorship – How NHRC of Nepal is risking the victims?
unlike "state sponsored censorship" is difficult
to prove. ACHR had given specific incidents to justify its
comments. Asian Centre for Human Rights wonders as to why
NHRC made no recommendation for payment of compensation to
the victims of Kapilavastu killings but only for the killings
by the Maoists at Baragdawa of Somni VDC in Nawalparasi district.
didn't NHRC establish the criminal responsibility for the
killings at Kapilavastu as it had done with regard to Dormaba
killings but passed the buck to the government to investigate
further? Is this not a case of self-censorship?
a glaring case of self-censorship which had serious implications
on the victims of human rights violations, ACHR is presently
in possession of a hand written communication from a detainee
who is listed as disappeared as the Royal Nepal Army authorities
refused to recognise his detention despite various interventions
by national and international bodies. In the hand-written
letter, the concerned detainee has reported about torture
and other gross human rights violations including extrajudicial
executions of the detainees in a secret grave and expressed
the fear of being extrajudicially executed. The concerned
detainee also expressed concern that International Committee
of the Red Cross has stopped the visit to the barracks (due
to the disagreements over conditions put by the RNA which
undermine the mandate of the ICRC).
current members of the National Human Rights Commission have
been visiting the places of detention including the army barracks
and among others, met the concerned detainee. Yet, the NHRC
members refused to divulge any information about the detainee
concerned, thereby legitimising continued illegal detention
and disappearance of that detainee. In fact, if the concerned
detainee is extrajudicially executed, members of the NHRC
can be held responsible for contributing to the detainee’s
extrajudicial execution because of their failure to disclose
the whereabouts of the detainee concerned.
question arises as to why NHRC and not the ICRC, is allowed
to visit the places of detention centre. This is despite the
fact that International Committee of the Red Cross as a matter
of principle does not make the findings public. The conditions
put by the RNA violate the mandate of the ICRC and the ICRC,
having no other option, had to stop its visit to the prisons
and detention centres. Obviously, NHRC had no such moral qualms
and accepted the conditions of the RNA
condition not to make cases of illegal detention public.
For all practical purposes, NHRC of Nepal now serves as the
rubber stamp for legalising the criminal acts of the RNA.
Centre for Human Rights decided not to disclose the name of
the members of the NHRC who met the concerned detainee as
it is nothing personal against any individual member including
the Chairperson. What ACHR seeks to highlight is the fact
that NHRC of Nepal has collapsed as an institution for its
failure to fulfill the mandate given under the Human Rights
order to address any question from the NHRC of Nepal about
the handwritten letter from the concerned detainee, Asian
Centre for Human Rights will forward the hand written letter
of the detainee concerned to the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights based in Kathmandu, Deputy UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights in Geneva and international human rights
organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights
Watch and International Commission of Jurists with a request
that the letter should not be shared with NHRC of Nepal or
other institutions of the government of Nepal.
that there will be serious retribution against the concerned
detainee who fears extrajudicial execution.
Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion: The role of the Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission in its response of 19 August
2005 goes at length to defend the Chairman of the NHRC, Justice
Nayan Bahadur Khatri. ACHR stands by its observation that
“In the new dispensation, Justice Nayan Bahadur Khatri has
been suitably rewarded for supporting the Royal coup”.
Saptahik Bimarsh, (
a weekly newspaper in Nepal, in its issue of 12-18
August 2005 quoted Justice Nayan Bahadur Khatri saying that
by bringing the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights, human rights defenders of Nepal have stabbed
on the heart of Nepal (Aamako Chhatima Chhuri Ropte Kaam).
statement of Justice Khatri is self-explanatory.
a series of weekly ACHR REVIEW leading upto 10th Annual Session,
Asian Centre for Human Rights examined the functioning of
the National Human Rights Institutions of Thailand, India
stated in our earlier ACHR REVIEW, the NHRC of Thailand called
for scrapping of the Emergency Decree, which it termed, as
a blank cheque inviting the Prime Minister to go on an unlimited
and unscrutinised “power invoking spree” with immunity for
officials from criminal, civil and disciplinary responsibilities.
than interpreting Justice Khatri’s views, NHRC of Nepal should
make an unequivocal statement both on the Royal takeover of
1 February 2005 and the Emergency Decree.
It is action, not rhetoric
Centre for Human Rights stands by the statement that NHRC
of Nepal "stands as the most discredited National Human
Rights Institutions in the Asia Pacific region."
than accusing Asian Centre for Human Rights of any malicious
intent, doubts about NHRC's credibility could be substantially
cleared if NHRC of Nepal can bring transparency into its work.
In this regard, ACHR recommends that NHRC of Nepal puts information
of it activities among others, (1) as to how many complaints
it has received, (2) in how many cases it has intervened,
(3) how many cases have been rejected and on what grounds,
(4) what actions it has taken with regard to the complaints
registered, (5) whether any recommendation has been made to
the government of Nepal, (6) whether the government of Nepal
has implemented these recommendations, and (7) the current
status of each of these complaints.
importantly, NHRC of Nepal must make public the names of detainees,
it has met and will meet in the near future, in the custody
of the Royal Nepal Army and other security forces. This will
prevent the RNA from extrajudicially executing the detainees
who are listed as disappeared by the RNA. It will also bring
an end to the trauma and agony being suffered by the family
members and relatives of the victims of enforced disappearances
who continue to wait endlessly about the return of their dear
NHRC of Nepal can ensure transparency, its activities will
speak for itself. Neither dismissing ACHR REVIEW as "baseless
formulations" nor the press releases or lectures put
on the website can restore the credibility of the NHRC of
Releasing the list of detainees
the NHRC delegation met so far in the custody of the Royal
Nepal Army and other security forces shall be the first step
if the NHRC seeks us to believe that it is not a spook agency
of the government or a rubber stamp for legalising criminal
acts of the RNA.