UN rapporteurs ask Nepal to clarify if consultations with conflict victims were participatoryTheir concern follows conflict victims’ complaint that the January consultations for amending the Transitional Justice Act were just a farce and formality.
The United Nations has asked the Nepal government if the provincial-level consultations held with conflict victims in January to amend the Transitional Justice Act were participatory.
Through a letter, five special rapporteurs under the UN Human Rights Council have asked the Nepal government also to explain how the seven provincial-level consultations ensured a broad and effective participation of all interested victims, including all categories of victims and victims residing in remote locations, to ensure that their views are accurately and comprehensively represented.
They have also asked to inform if the Nepal government plans any further consultations to engage who were left out earlier and update on how the inputs received from victims and civil society were or will be given due consideration and inclusion in the amended Act.
The UN concern follows conflict victims’ complaint that the consultations that the government had held were a farce and just a formality.
The government on January 13 held interactions with the victims and other concerned stakeholders at the headquarters of seven provinces.
The participants had told the Post that consultations were held in two sessions—three hours with victims and another three hours with human rights defenders, civil society members, security forces and the media.
They said the entire process was a ‘farce’.
The letter written on March 16 is the second one seeking Nepal government’s commitment to maintaining transparency in amending the Transitional Justice Act and appointments in the transitional justice commissions.
They also had written a similar letter on April 12 last year asking the government to expedite the process to amend the Act in line with Nepal Supreme Court’s ruling and international obligations.
The government though has already appointed officials to the two transitional justice commissions, it is yet to amend the Act. The appointment of officials to the two transitional justice commissions has also been criticised by the conflict victims who say political parties bulldozed their decisions and handpicked people of their choice without consulting them.
“Please provide information about the measures taken to ensure the independence and transparency of the recommendation and appointment of the new commissioners to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on the Investigation of Enforced Disappearance and to guarantee the compliance of this procedure with International standards on the appointment of members of such commissions,” reads the letter.
The letter has been undersigned by the special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Special Rapporteur on violence against women.
“While awaiting a reply, we urge that all necessary interim measures be taken to guarantee the broad and effective consultation with victims in the process of amendment of the Act on the Commission on Investigation of Disappeared Persons, Truth and Reconciliation 2071 (2014), and to guarantee that the amended Act to be presented to Parliament is compliant with international standards,” reads the letter.
The rapporteurs said a report will be presented before the Human Rights Council based on the response from the Nepal government.
In the letter, they also have reminded the Nepal government of the pending requests from the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence and from the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to visit Nepal.
The rapporteurs have also reminded the Nepal government of the pending visit requests.
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind the Nepal government of the pending visit requests from the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence and from the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances,” they said. “We look forward to receiving your invitation to visit the country soon.”
Despite repeated promises, the Nepal government has yet to conclude the transitional justice process which has been dragging on for more than a decade now.