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Deliberation on Interactive Dialogues on UPR Organised by Office of the Prime Minister of Nepal

Rt. Honorable Prime Minister, Chief Secretary and Secretaries of GoN, Excellences, UN team, representative of donors and members of CSOs,

It is my honor to have this opportunity as representative of civil society organizations to share some CSOs’ perspective in protecting and promoting the human rights in relation to the position taken by the government of Nepal through the National Report of Universal Periodic Review submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

Thanks are due to the office of the Prime Minister of Nepal and Council of Ministers, the Government of Nepal as the report has been prepared through wider consultative approach. The report has primarily outlined the instrument based mechanisms and national institutional frameworks- human rights institutions and policies including National Human Rights Commission. It has also outlined the role of media and civil society in protecting and promoting the human rights. 

The report has included all the rights Civil and Political, and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (rights to health, food, education, housing and work) as the rights the citizen of Nepal can enjoy. The report documents some achievements such as increased awareness of human rights, human rights friendly development plans, engagement with international mechanisms and legislative frameworks of good governance. It has also documented best practices that also include zero tolerance against gender based violence and community forestry as the best practice of natural resource management as collective rights of people. 

Despite all the positive projections indicated by the UPR report, there are a number of critical areas to be improved in terms of human rights situation of Nepal. Although polices and frameworks are in place, the implementation mechanisms and monitoring seem to be weak. It means accountability mechanism remains to be too weak. Impunity continued to be the common phenomenon and widespread. The commitment made in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in relation to human rights seems to be not translated into practice. Some of the institutional mechanisms sought in CPA such as Commission of Disappearance, Commission of Truth and Reconciliation have not been established as the urgent mechanisms to ensure transitional justice. Recommendations of NHRC to punish the perpetrators have either resisted or slowed down their implementations by all the governments formed after the Janandolan II, although the government for the latest few months seems to be keen in providing reparation and compensations to the victims as per the recommendations of NHRC. 

Moreover, the poor and marginalized people continued to live in destitution as they face rampant poverty and deprivation of essential services such as education, health, drinking water, sanitation etc. The progress in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA), the internationally agreed development goals to ensure economic and social rights of people, seem to be not satisfactory, although some goals seem to meet the target. Hunger, malnutrition and sanitation have been the result of the serious violation of economic and social rights of the people. Poverty is the serious violation of human rights. NHRC has also recommended ensuring the ESCRs of people to the government. 

To overcome these challenges, the role of civil society is crucial in terms of ensuring political and civil rights and economic, social and cultural rights. CSOs need to be considered as equal partners in framing the policies and institutions of human rights and CSOs need to be capacitated as watch dog of human rights from the very beginning of the processes.  Spaces for civil society in the government mechanisms need to be expanded. Likewise, CSOs will have greater roles in localizing the MDGs and other development goals as these are the international commitments made on the basis of ESCRs that ends poverty. Ending poverty and discriminations means ensuring human rights. 

There are more two other reports coming from NHRIs and civil society. They appear to be grounded on critical analysis and recommended pragmatic issues to be addressed. I call upon the government of Nepal to consider and adopt their recommendations and extend collaboration with them in implementation. 

On behalf of NGO Federation of Nepal, one of the largest CSOs networks in Nepal working in the field of human rights, pro-poor development and social justice, I would like to urge the GoN  to become proactive in ensuring the economic and social rights of people and protecting and promoting the civil and political rights. I would like to assure the government of Nepal for CSOs support to end impunity and to end poverty. Let us act together to overcome the challenges. 

Thank you.

Netra Prasad Timsina

President

NGO Federation of Nepal

13 January 2010

 (Delivered on 13 January 2011 in a consultation meeting organised by the Prime Minister's Office (PM as chief guest and major donors, government officials and member of CSOs as participants).

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