KATHMANDU, Nov 22: A two-day national conference of conflict victims on transitional justice ended on Wednesday, calling for meaningful participation of the conflict victims themselves in the overall transitional justice process and related mechanisms.
A 23-point Charter of Conflict Victims issued at the conclusion of the national conference calls for the establishment of a credible high-level mechanism with the involvement of all stakeholders in order to create an environment of openness and trust for proceeding with the transitional justice process on the basis of Nepal's unique experience in the management of arms and armies.
While expressing serious distrust toward the existing Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission for the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), the charter issued by the Conflict Victims Common Platform (CVCP) has demanded that these two transitional justice mechanisms be restructured on the basis of laws rewritten or amended with the consent of the conflict victims.
“The commissions to be established thereafter must be impartial, independent, empowered and autonomous, with the goal of ending impunity and ensuring lasting peace through a transitional justice process that is transparent, gender-sensitive, inclusive and participatory,” states the charter issued by the conference of conflict victims from across the country .
While warning that they will seek alternative recourse to justice if the terms of the two commissions are extended under the existing circumstances, the conflict victims have demanded that a document of common consensus on transitional justice must be drafted by the mechanisms to be formed with the participation and consent of the victims.
Such a document, they said, should pay due regard to the constitution, the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), verdicts and mandamuses as well as the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court on transitional justice, various international treaties, conventions and covenants on human rights to which Nepal is party, the agreements and understandings reached between the conflict victims and the government and international best practices and the unique context and values of Nepali society.
Conflict victims have arrived at a consensus that truth-seeking, justice and reparation for victims, prosecution and punishment for perpetrators, institutional reform, end of impunity and reconciliations are the core values of transitional justice . “Any process or legislation that for the sake of expediency prioritizes amnesty for perpetrators and undermines the principle of punishment for the offenders and justice for the victim in the name of political consensus, transitional justice, reparation and reconciliation will be unacceptable to the victims of conflict,” the charter said.
The charter has also called for a broadminded National Reparation Policy to promote self-respect and self-reliance among conflict victims, incorporating their sentiments and including measures in education, health, reservations in employment and social security. “Such a policy must incorporate United Nations guidelines on reparation, and it must be adopted with the concurrence of conflict victims,” it further said.
In regard to reconciliation, conflict victims have insisted that reconciliation must happen only with the independent and informed consent of the victims. “Amnesty and reconciliation are not acceptable in the case of serious violation of human rights,” added the charter.
Resolve our issue as per progressive agenda of CPA: Discharged Maoist combatants
While venting ire against the government's negligence toward their social reintegration, discharged former Maoist combatants have demanded that their issue be resolved according to the progressive agenda of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) signed between the government and the former Maoist rebels.
Issuing a press statement on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the CPA on Wednesday, the Discharged People's Liberation Army of Nepal (DPLAN) said the issue of former child soliders was an unfinished agenda of the CPA. “Social integration of the former child soldiers should be a political issue,” said DPLAN Coordinator Lenin Bista.
Bista alleged that the political parties had been reluctant to raise the issue of child soldiers and hesitant to show concern toward rehabilitating them socially, politically and economically. “The issues of child soldiers must be solved according to the progressive agenda of the CPA. The Government of Nepal must assess their socio-economic situation and come up with a Comprehensive National Policy to create a support mechanism,” Bista said.
Bista further said that such a policy should ensure that children won't be used in any future armed conflict. Additionally, the government should recognize the contribution of the child soldiers in making Nepal a federal republic. He also appealed to all stakeholders and like-minded organizations to support their campaign for social justice in Nepal.