Nepal: Weakening OHCHR’s mandate is
dangerous and irresponsible

New Delhi. The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today expressed serious concerns about the proposal of the government to “scale down mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor human rights situations with National Human Rights Commission of Nepal having a lead role”.

ACHR denounced the move as cynical in the light of the alleged summary execution of three girls Chandrakala Bishwokarma (12 years), Devisara Bishwokarma (35), and Amrita Bishwokarma (32 years) by Nepal Army on 10 March 2010

 “At a time when public security and human rights are visibly deteriorating, with no signs of progress on the critical issues impeding the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the government plans to weaken the OHCHR’s mandate is irresponsible and dangerous.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR.

“The international community needs to wake up to existing reality of Nepal: the rule of law has virtually been replaced by the rule of the jungle. Claims of meaningful development are increasingly empty. Donors should regard this move with deep concern and a direct threat to their development programmes”. – further stated Mr Chakma.

The NHRC's own Commissioner's have themselves stated that the institution is incapable of monitoring the situation. Moreover there is compelling evidence that the government intends to further weaken the NHRC. A withdrawal or weakening of OHCHRs mandate would leave Nepal's dysfunctional and politicised National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with primary responsibility to address the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation.

The NHRCs politicisation underlines the dangers of the Government’s demand that OHCHR’s new mandate will be to assist civil society, NGOs, and individuals only on human rights issues – a condition the government will no doubt abuse.

“If the mandate of the OHCHR is reduced, a repeat of Doramba massacre by the forces inimical to the peace process cannot be ruled out. On 17th August 2003, the Royal Nepal Army massacred nineteen Maoists cadres at Doramba and the killings had derailed the dialogue between the Maoists and the government. Prime Minister Madhav Nepal’s threat to find a 'Sri Lankan solution' if the Maoists resort to armed struggle again, must be viewed in that context”. – stated Mr Chakma

The Asian Centre for Human Rights recommended that unless the current Peace Process makes substantial progress in terms of adopting the Constitution, progress on key human rights cases and resolution of the issue of integration of the Maoists’ Peoples Liberation Army and the NHRC is further strengthened, the OHCHR’s current mandate must not be tinker with. ACHR called on donors, diplomats and civil society to respond to the government's ill-designed move.[Ends]

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