Advocating on behalf of earthquake relief efforts
Graphic: NHRC monitoring team visits Barpak, in the northern part of the Gorkha district of Nepal
Special arrangements should be made to meet the needs of pregnant women, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and children, the Commission said.
The National Human Rights Commission of Nepal (NHRC) has urged the government to take steps to ensure the effective distribution of relief materials and proper treatment of persons injured by the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015.
"Millions of people are displaced, they have been left homeless and they are not receiving adequate food, proper health and sanitation facilities and other relief," said NHRC Acting Secretary Bed Bhattarai.
Since the time of the earthquake, NHRC teams have conducted numerous monitoring visits to the 14 most affected districts, including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, speaking with earthquake victims and documenting the situation.
The NHRC said it had received reports that the relief distribution had been "politicised" in many earthquake affected areas.
Special arrangements should also be made to meet the needs of pregnant women, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and children, the NHRC noted. There are many remote areas where even the helicopters cannot land and provide relief materials.
Further, the relevant authorities should manage the timely removal of dead bodies of the earthquake victims, once their last rites have been performed, to protect public health. Garbage produced at open settlements also required proper management.
NHRC monitoring teams had also been sent to Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Dhading, Kavre, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Sindhuli, Solu and Makawanpur to monitor the rescue and relief efforts in those areas.
"We have an important responsibility to monitor the human rights situation of earthquake victims in all parts of the country," Mr Bhattarai said.
"There are big expectations from the community to do this work and all human resources within the Commission have been directed towards our monitoring efforts."
Mr Bhattarai said that ensuring remote communities had access to adequate rescue and relief support was an area of particular concern.
Rain and thunderstorms were causing additional problems for earthquake-affected communities, he said. Ongoing tremors were also causing extreme anxiety among people.
A compiled report of the NHRC's monitoring will be finalised shortly and provided to the government, Mr Bhattarai said.
On the basis of its initial monitoring reports, the NHRC has already drawn the attention of the government to the protection of basic human rights, including the provision of clothes and quality food.
The main office of the NHRC was badly damaged by the earthquake. As a result, Commissioners and staff have been working from tents and temporary accommodation on the NHRC grounds.
It is expected that the building will be demolished and, when funding is available, a new office will be built.
Mr Bhattarai said that support for the work of the Commission could be provided through the joint NHRC-UNDP project on Strengthening the Capacity of the National Human Rights Commission.
Date: 27 May 2015
- NHRC monitoring team visits Barpak, in the northern part of the Gorkha district of Nepal - National Human Rights Commission of Nepal