Published in The E-Kantipur on Jan. 08 ::
The government has publicised the fourth five-year national action plan on human rights 2014-2019, which incorporates six new focal areas.
The new thematic areas–education, health, nutrition and population, and employment– were picked by the Prime Minister’s Office after a series of discussions conducted across the country.
Previously, the themes were identified by the ministries, who were also responsible for the implementation of the action plan.
Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudyal said due to lack of separate coordination, budget and commitment, the past three action plans could not deliver the desired results.
“From this time onwards, the concerned ministries shall make the arrangement for budget allocation to implement the programmes included in the action plan,” said Poudyal.
Nepal started to formulate and implement the National Human Rights Action Plan from 2005 in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international conventions on human rights to which Nepal is a party.
The country has been prioritising human rights while formulating periodic development plans. Similarly, separate mechanisms have been established to deal with human rights in all three security agencies, while human rights education has been made mandatory in training courses for the security agencies.
Despite the country’s commitment to promote and protect human rights, the past three national human rights action plans have not been implemented effectively due to various shortcomings.
“The overall performance of our implementation rate is at around 50-60 percent,” said Poudyal. “We hope to take a lesson from the past and improve our performance this time.”
As of July 2014, departmental actions were taken against 856 individuals, including 177 from Nepal Army, 622 from Nepal Police, 56 from Armed Police Force and one civil servant, for violation of human rights.
Some of the areas focused by the action plan are: culture, legal reforms, environment, women, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, sexual minorities, marginalised communities, food security and transitional justice.
Priorities have also been given to safe housing, social service and security, drinking water, sanitation, electricity and consumption of natural resources, among others. Similarly, the action plan has also emphasised on the execution of Supreme Court judgments and recommendations of National Human Rights Commission.