Int'l rights watchdogs urge Prez to return ordinance
KATHMANDU, AUG 31 - Human rights organisations --Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and Track Impunity Always--have jointly written to President Ram Baran Yadav, urging him to return ordinance s forwarded by the Cabinet on Tuesday.
One of the four ordinance s has proposed the formation of transitional justice mechanisms like a commission of inquiry on enforced disappearance and the truth and reconciliation commission.
The joint letter sent to the President on Thursday said "the executive ordinance will empower a politically constituted commission with discretion to recommend amnesties for crimes under international law."
"Justice, truth and reparation for serious human rights violations has been a key demand of the Nepali people for years now," said the letter, adding that governments have failed to satisfy this demand despite repeated promises. Under this context, the proposed ordinance seems to continue the trend of allowing political expediency to prevent accountability and entrench impunity, the letter said.
The rights bodies also referred to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and said the as a state party, the government must investigate and prosecute all instances of serious human rights abuses and guarantee victims' right to effective remedy.
According to the letter, as per procedures maintained in the ordinance , commissioners and the attorney general will all be political appointees.
"Situations are, therefore, very much vulnerable to the kind of political pressure that international standards explicitly seek to avoid," the letter said, urging the president to guarantee a fair and inclusive process in establishing transitional justice mechanisms and ensure that the government meets its obligations under national and international laws.
Meanwhile, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Piper said the establishment of a transitional justice mechanism empowered to provide amnesty for perpetrators of serious human rights violations and war crimes is contrary to Nepal's commitments under international laws.
In a statement issued on behalf of the UN on Thursday, Piper said the adoption of the proposed ordinance currently with the President could severely undermine access to justice for victims and potentially further institutionalise impunity. "I urge that the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms is done in compliance with international human rights standards and best practices, as reiterated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the National Human Rights Commission as well as Nepali and international human rights organisations.
Posted on: 2012-08-31 02:00