Ex-Gurkhas to mount int’l campaign for pay parity, compensation

Published On: November 7, 2019 07:31 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 7: The agitating British Gurkha ex-servicemen have announced to launch an international human rights campaign if the British government does not take any initiatives to address their grievances related to pension parity and compensation for the injustice meted out to them. 

The decision was made at the conclusion of the two-day National Symposium on Human Rights Movement and Dignity of Ex-British Gurkhas organized jointly by the British Gurkha Community and Nepali Society members including academics and youth students in Kathmandu. 

An 11-point Kathmandu Declaration adopted at the conclusion of the two-day conference on Tuesday has urged the governments of Nepal and Britain to promptly start dialogue over the Report of Technical Committee that comprises UK envoy to Nepal, Minister of Defense (UK) and representatives of British Gurkha ex-servicemen associations. “For this purpose, the government of Nepal shall be requested to recognize the report, introduced on 15 March 2019 by International Relations Committee of the federal parliament, as a guiding instrument,” reads the Declaration. 

They have called for appointing one of the members of International Relations Committee of the federal parliament as a coordinator and a representative of legal professional who has gained expertise through continued engagement in research about the issue of Gurkha servicemen, representative of civil society, and representative of ex-servicemen community as members. 

The agitating British Gurkha ex-servicemen have announced to launch an international human rights campaign if the British government does not heed their concerns. The movement, according to the Kathmandu Declaration, will draw attention of the UN Human Rights Council toward the injustice and discrimination perpetrated against the Gurkha ex-servicemen by following the process of Universal Periodic Review and conduct special study and make adequate preparation for the utilization of the ILO mechanism.

The movement will also prepare for utilizing other human rights instruments that may include the jurisdiction of Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and Human Rights Committee and utilize the jurisdiction of International Court of Justice, according to the declaration.

In respect of those soldiers who had lost their lives, injured, disappeared, or made redundant or dismissed from service as a result of unfair prosecution during and after first and second World Wars and also other subsequent wars, the national conference has urged Nepal government to immediately start dialogues with the British government, equipping itself with facts and evidences. It has proposed constituting a specialized taskforce under the coordination of the member of the International Relations Committee of the federal parliament and also form a separate Research and Study Committee comprised of experts and representatives of Gurkha ex-servicemen.

The Conference has demanded British Government to address all types of discrimination and injustice imposed on Gurkha Ex-Servicemen and on their families, provide compensation to families of those who lost their lives in the past wars and introduce a system under which the Sterling Pound shall directly be transferred from UK banks to the Nepal Rastra Bank.

With respect to the injustice perpetrated against the ex-servicemen serving in the Gurkha Reserve Unit (GRU), Brunei, and against the Nepali nationals serving as police personnel in Singapore Police (SP) Force, the national conference asked Nepal government to initiate a prompt dialogue with the respective governments of Brunei and Singapore so that the entire emolument entitled by personnel serving in GRU and SP shall be paid properly and bring the practice of giving a middlemen and managerial role to British Government on the recruitment and management of Nepali nationals in GRU and SP to an end. 

The conference also asked the Nepal government to take an initiation to make a bilateral agreement with the governments of Brunei and the government of Singapore to continue further recruitment of the Nepali citizens in GRU and SP.

The agitating Former British Gurkha Satyagraha Committee will take leadership to step up these strategic actions to exert pressure on the British government to meet these demands, according to the general secretary of British Gurkha Satyagraha United Struggle Committee SB Ghising.

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