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Nepal government urged to respect NHRC’s independence

Graphic: Justice Anup Raj Sharma, NHRC Chairperson

Members of the Commission were recently summoned by the Prime Minister to discuss the Commission’s statement to the Universal Periodic Review of Nepal

A group of leading international human rights organisations have called on the Government of Nepal Government to immediately stop the intimidation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and respect its independence, in line with international standard.

In a joint press statement on 14 April, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists said that the attempts to intimidate the NHRC are a direct contradiction of the Paris Principles, as well as the Constitution of Nepal.

They were responding to reports that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had summoned the NHRC Chairperson, Justice Anup Raj Sharma, and other Commissioners to answer questions on the NHRC's statement delivered by Commissioner Mohna Ansari during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Nepal before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2016.

"As the principal independent constitutional body mandated to promote and protect human rights in the country, the NHRC plays a vital role in ensuring governmental accountability, and was well within its authority under both the Nepali Constitution and international standards when it delivered its submission to the UN Human Rights Council during the UPR," said Nikhil Narayan, ICJ's South Asia senior legal adviser.

Following the meeting with the Prime Minister, Justice Sharma said in a statement that "the views expressed in the HRC session by Mohna Ansari were that of the Commission, not of her personal comment."

Justice Sharma also urged all stakeholders to focus on addressing impunity prevailing in the country.

"Since no one is above the law, the Commission is of the opinion that the authorities and responsible officials should focus on impunity and its consequences," he said.

In its remarks at the UPR session, the NHRC highlighted various ongoing human rights concerns, including discriminatory citizenship provisions in the newconstitution; the continuedfailureto properly investigate alleged unlawful killings and excessive use of force during protests in the Terai region in 2015; violations of the economic, social, and cultural rights ofearthquakevictims; and the need forcredible transitional justicefor conflict victims.

The Commission's statement to the UPR is available on its website.

Date: 18 April 2016

Image credits

  1. Justice Anup Raj Sharma, NHRC Chairperson - National Human Rights Commission of Nepal