South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Nepal breaks into news with regularity, and that gives an indication of the human rights (HR) situation in the country. Its role cannot be underestimated in times when the lacklustre law and order situation and impunity stalk the social scene. It has been in existence as a constitutional body. It functions as a statutory body to complement the legal system of the country. Though it cannot prosecute anyone for human rights violations on its own right, it does make the necessary recommendations to the government for further action. Despite its well-researched recommendations, the government response that is the implementations aspect accordingly does not show any silver lining. The only valid point is perhaps the assertion that the government has compensated the victims in cases on which the NHRC worked and forwarded the recommendations to the government. But, the whole process of delivering justice does not stop at this; it is mandatory to take appropriate legal action against the perpetrators as identified by the NHRC. On this front the government has not given due importance to what the NHRC has forwarded to it. That is enough to reflect the status of impunity offered to the human rights violators.
If the records are to worked upon, 86 per cent of the recommendations forwarded by NHRC have been ignored by the government. This is based on the analysis of the recommendations forwarded by NHRC to the government in the one decade of its existence. For example, of the 239 violent deaths that the NHRC delved into, only 8 per cent of its recommendations were implemented fully while 48 per cent partially. The rest were confined to gather dust. In fact, going by the trend, the government seems least bothered about implementing the NHRC recommendations which in fact goes to establish the credos of human rights in the country. Such a tendency of the government to be indifferent to the NHRC recommendations to such an extent defies all logic, when it should have taken the initiative to establish the rule of law and not be lenient to human rights violators.
The end of the ten-year-old Maoist insurgency may have ended in 2006 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), but the human rights violations are occurring with regularity while the perpetrators do not have to face retribution of any sort all because of the apathetic attitude of the government to date. Without the government swinging into action to at least implement the recommendations of the NHRC, the human rights situation in the country cannot see marked improvement at the same time acting as a deterrent to would-be HR violators. The governments in recent years have been more focused in consolidating power than overseeing whether the human rights situation is commendable and up to the mark as per the aspirations of the people. What is more irksome is that despite the victims being compensated from the state coffers, it seems incomprehensible that the perpetrators are free to roam the streets fearlessly. It is time for the government to accord recognition to the NHRC recommendations through implementation.
Paying double
The price of cooking gas in Nepal is the highest in South Asia. Strange as it may sound, its price is almost double the price in India. In a way, this has added to the hardship for the impoverished people of this country. Incidentally, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the region. It is difficult to understand why people here have to pay more for the gas whereas in other countries of the region its price is relatively lower and subsidized. Even after charging this high price on the commodity, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) cannot explain why this is the case. Instead, it blames the government policy for the hike in the price of cooking gas.
Actually there is supposed to be a provision for different prices of cooking gas for domestic and industrial consumption, but this has not been enforced. In any case, seeing how high consumers are paying for cooking gas it is high time the concerned came up with some relief measures, including providing subsidies if necessary, so that cooking gas could become affordable to most consumers.
Source: The Himalayan Times – 07.07.2010