KATHMANDU, Dec 9: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed concerns over ‘deteriorating’ human rights situation in the country and criticized the government for its apathy in upholding the past commitments.
In an annual report submitted to President Bidya Bhandari on Sunday, NHRC, the apex human rights body in the country, has accused the KP Oli government of trying to curtail its jurisdiction and questioned the government’s commitment to resolving the conflict-era cases among other things.
“Confusions are growing regarding the jurisdiction of the commission, which is a constitutional body. It is sad that the conflict victims remain deprived of justice even 13 years after the comprehensive peace agreement,” said NHRC Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma.
The commission has asked the government to take immediate measures to improve the human rights situation in the country.
In the agreement signed on November 21, 2006 between the then Seven-Party Alliance and the rebel Maoists, the two sides had agreed to promulgate a new constitution and manage the Maoist combatants for ending a decade-long Maoist insurgency.
The agreement that was signed after over 17,000 people were killed in the conflict, had also assured of forming TJ bodies within six months of signing of the agreement and ensuring justice to conflict victims within two years.
Over 65,000 conflict-era complaints filed at the transitional justice (TJ) bodies remain unsettled.
Established in 2015 TJ bodies – Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons – are now left without commissioners.
The NHRC is more concerned after the government formulated a bill to amend 2012’s NHRC Act without consulting it. The bill has proposed closing 10 of the NHRC's regional and sub-regional offices.
NHRC is especially concerned about the government’s intentions as the bill proposes keeping the regional offices under the provincial governments.
Additionally, the bill has proposed that the Office of the Attorney General shall have discretionary powers over whether to file a case upon the recommendation of the NHRC.
Following widespread criticism, the bill is now on hold. But the NHRC officials worry that the state of human rights will be further weakened if the bill gets parliamentary endorsement in the existing form.
In the fiscal year 2018-2019 the commission had received 232 complaints of human rights violations whereas 338 previous cases were pending at the commission. The commission has completed investigation into total 600 complaints during the fiscal year.