Civil society expresses disappointment over UN SG Guterres' missed opportunity to meet conflict victims

Published On: October 31, 2023 07:45 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, October 31: A group of civil society members has conveyed their disappointment over the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' failure to meet with the victims of the Maoist conflict during his visit to Nepal.

The civil society group issued a Note of Appreciation and Concern to Secretary General Guterres on Tuesday, emphasizing that the victims, as the primary stakeholders, had persevered through years of isolation to safeguard the transitional justice process from opportunistic politicians and other actors who might have derailed it.

"While you did engage with the two former warring factions, you missed the opportunity to meet with conflict victims, despite a letter from representatives of five organizations requesting an appointment on the morning of October 30," the statement said.

The individuals issuing the note include Dr. Gauri Shankar Lal Das, former Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission; Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal, former Foreign Minister and Member of Parliament; Hira Bishwakarma, Scholar and Social Activist; Sushil Pyakurel, former Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission; Tika P. Dhakal, Political Scientist and former advisor to the President of Nepal; and Kanak Mani Dixit, writer and journalist.

"Looking forward, we remain hopeful that your stance on the prerequisites for Nepal's transitional justice process will help ensure a just and proper conclusion. We must remain vigilant, Mr. Secretary-General, to the possibility of national and international 'spoilers' seeking to impose a perpetrator-friendly conclusion to the peace process, using the pretext of elapsed time and geopolitical expediency," the note stated.

The group expressed their appreciation for Secretary General Guterres' visit to Nepal, where he emphasized the need for a humanitarian truce in Gaza, the escalating climate crisis, the message of peace from Sakyamuni Siddhartha Gautam, and the prerequisites for a successful conclusion to Nepal's transitional justice process.

They also noted, "The ongoing violence in Gaza, particularly the carpet bombing by Israel, is causing unimaginable harm to the region's children, women, and men. To rid the world of violence, given the abundance of dangerous weapons, both governments and citizens need to heed the message of self-realization and empathy preached by Sakyamuni 2500 years ago."

Furthermore, the group highlighted the significance of the Secretary General's message on global warming from the southern slopes of the Himalaya, especially in the lead-up to the COP-28 Conference in Dubai in three weeks. "We were heartened by your public acknowledgment and appreciation of Nepal's homegrown peace process and your emphasis on the importance of international law principles and Nepal's Supreme Court judgments in bringing Nepal's transitional justice process to a just and humanitarian conclusion," the note added.

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