Transitional justice commissions have not taken any steps to bring victims and rights activists on boardDisappearance commission is preparing its work plan without consulting with conflict victims.
The new office-bearers of the two transitional justice commissions, who were appointed amid reservations by the conflict victims, have not taken any steps to bring the victims and human rights activists on board as they move forward with their jobs.
Two weeks have passed since the two commissions got their office-bearers, who were selected by a committee led by former chief justice Om Prakash Mishra after an agreement between the ruling and the main opposition parties. In this period, there have been no attempts from them to start a dialogue with the conflict victims and the human rights activists.
The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons is already in the process of preparing its work plan, and it has not consulted with the concerned parties. “We are close to finalising our work plan. We didn’t think it was necessary to talk with the concerned parties since the commission members have already spoken to them even before their appointment,” Sunil Ranjan Singh, a commission member.
Singh said they will finalise the work plan and report to the government within a couple of days.
“We are also writing the government for the amendment in the transitional justice Act as directed by the Supreme Court,” he said.
The disappearance commission has already concluded that completing the investigation within the set term, which ends in February next year, is not possible.
The officials at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission said they were currently discussing ways to move ahead with their job, but had not yet decided whether they should consult the conflict victims and other concerned parties.
Ganesh Datta Bhatta, the chairperson of the commission, said they were not in a hurry. “We are aware that listening to the victims and the human rights defenders is necessary, but we have not yet decided when to start the consultation process,” he told the Post.
The conflict victims say any work that is done by the two commissions without amending the Enforced Disappeared Enquiry and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2o14 would be futile.
“We are surprised to hear that the disappearance commission has prepared its work plan without even sitting with the stakeholders once,” Gopal Shah, chairman of the Conflict Victims National Network, told the Post.
The network has been demanding that the government and the political parties proceed with the transitional justice process based on the suggestions from the victims.
Rights activists have also warned that the two commissions will reach nowhere if they ignore the conflict victims and other stakeholders.
They have long been urging the commissions to bring everyone on board before taking any crucial decision.
“There are already reservations over the appointment of office-bearers in the commissions. Hence, it is even more important for them to reach out to the major parties of the transitional justice process,” Kapil Shrestha, a former member of the National Human Rights Commission, told the Post.
The disappearance commission has around 3,000 complaints to investigate while over 63,000 cases have been registered with truth commission.
Satish Mainali, a human rights lawyer, said there was no option for the commissions than to move hand in hand with the victims to take the transitional justice process to its logical end.
“Winning the confidence of the victims and other stakeholders will make their job easier,” he said.