KATHMANDU, Aug 31: Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Surya Kiran Gurung has warned that he will not continue in his job if the bill to amend the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CIEDP & TRC) Act is not endorsed speedily.
“I have not come to the commission only in search of a job but with a sense of responsibility and commitment toward resolving conflict-era cases. If that law is not amended immediately, I may act otherwise,” Gurung said during an interaction organized by CIEDP to mark the International Day of Disappeared Persons on Tuesday.
He said that the existing act cannot resolve all the conflict-era cases and that delay in amending it will only further complicate the cases of transitional justice.
“If the act is not amended in time, it will not be possible to resolve some serious conflict-era cases even if the tenure of the commissions is extended by a year," he said, adding,"So my only request to the government is to amend the act as soon as possible.” The two-year tenures of the two commissions are going to expire in less than six months.
Chairman Gurung likewise asked the government to immediately implement the interim report submitted earlier by his commission. The interim report has asked the government to provide a certain amount of funds to the victim families as interim relief as well as ensure that other facilities are extended to them. However, the government has not responded to the report.
Similarly, Lokendra Malik, chairman of the CIEDP, blamed the government for the delay in resolving conflict-era cases.
“Even 10 years after the end of the Maoist insurgency, the families of individuals who were involuntarily disappeared during the decade-long insurgency are waiting to know the whereabouts of their missing kin," he said. "Sadly, we have not been able to carry out investigations into the cases of disappeared individuals as the government has not provide the commission adequate support,” he added.
He also asked the government to amend the act immediately. “Likewise, the government should allocate sufficient funds and provide administrative and logistics support for the investigations as otherwise it would not be possible to carry out the investigations and ensure justice to conflict-era victims and their families,” he added.
Ram Kumar Bhandari, president of the National Network of Families of the Disappeared (NEFAD), added his voice to the demand that the government immediately amend the act and pave the way for resolving conflict-era cases.
“There is a risk that our conflict-era cases might become internationalized if the government delays some crucial tasks such as amendment of the act, and such a situation will only land us in further complications,” he said.
Bhandari said that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who led the Maoist insurgency, should resolve the conflict-era cases in a responsible fashion and as soon as possible, or else resign the post of prime minister.