MoFA advises Prez not to meet Western diplomats
KATHMANDU, SEP 08 -
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( MoFA ) has advised President Ram Baran Yadav not to meet Western diplomats, including those of the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Denmark, who have been raising concerns about the formation of transitional justice mechanisms through an ordinance.
Last Thursday, a meeting of Western diplomats held at the Office of the EU Delegation in Kathmandu decided to meet the President and express their displeasure over some provisions in the ordinance on the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ( TRC ) and the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearance. They had forwarded a request to MoFA on August 31 to arrange for a meeting with Yadav.
The diplomatic community was also preparing to urge the President and key political figures to ensure that any commission should meet international standards and must not include blanket amnesties for serious violations of human rights and the international humanitarian law.
The community is of the view that these bills should incorporate views of the National Human Rights Commission and victims’ groups when finalising the ordinance and comply with the Supreme Court’s verdict of June 2007. The court had on June 1, 2007 ordered the government to formulate a law to criminalise enforced disappearances in accordance with the international convention, establish a high level commission to look into such cases and provide adequate compensation and relief to victims and their families. The envoys were also planning to discuss with the President the “growing” corruption in state organs and the current political standoff. UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Piper has also expressed displeasure over the ordinance forwarded to the president for approval. He has said said that the endorsement of the ordinance will ‘severely undermine victims’ access to justice, and potentially further institutionalise impunity.’“They (diplomats) had decided to come up strongly against corruption in various state organs and the adverse effects that might have in donor-funded projects, while
also talking tough on the aid regime,” an informed source told the Post on Friday.
MoFA , however, cited political reasons for turning down the diplomats’ request for a meeting with the President. “ MoFA did not see the relevance of the meeting as it is purely a political matter and our President is a ceremonial one. We humbly advised the diplomatic community to talk to others like the prime minister or other political figures on the matter,” said MoFA Spokesperson Arjun Bahadur Thapa. According to the Diplomatic Code of Conduct, all diplomatic meetings with officials holding positions should be vetted by MoFA .
A diplomatic source said the western diplomatic community is itself wondering if the president can be dragged into the issue. “A meeting to be held soon will take a call on this,” the source said. The TRC is political in nature and as such, talking about it with the President is not a good idea, another official said. “We should not undermine the position of the President,” the official added. Although MoFA conveyed its suggestion to the President’s Office, the latter was in a fix until Friday. “We will convey our decision to the envoy on Monday,” a senior official at the President’s Office said. “We will take up MoFA ’s suggestion,” Press Adviser to the President, Rajendra Dahal, said.
Posted on: 2012-09-08 08:17