N24 Correspondent, KATHMANDU:- Delays in Nepal’s transitional justice, a bill to limit press freedom, and the autonomy of the National Human Rights Commission were discussed in Geneva on Thursday.
In Thursday’s third periodic review, member states prioritized the delay in transitional justice in Nepal, a bill to limit press freedom, and the autonomy of the Nepal National Human Rights Commission.
In the virtual meeting, the issue of transitional justice was raised by the US, UK, EU member states, Korea and others. Representatives from 98 countries attended the meeting, but other smaller countries, including South Asians, did not address the issue. Asian countries did not raise the issue of transitional justice, but other comprehensive human rights issues.
Addressing the meeting, Foreign Minister Pradip Gyawali reiterated Nepal’s commitment not to grant amnesty for serious human rights violations during the Maoist armed conflict.
MinisterGyawali said the government was committed to concluding the transitional justice process in accordance with the peace agreement, the Supreme Court order, Nepal’s international commitments, and the interests of the victims.
At the meeting, representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, and European countries suggested that the process be concluded as soon as possible and that those involved in serious human rights violations not be granted amnesty.
At the meeting, Germany and Canada also questioned the delay in transitional justice and the failure to listen to victims.
“Fourteen years have passed since the end of the armed conflict in Nepal, but there is no accountability for human rights violations,” she said. This process needs to be completed inclusively by addressing the demands of the victims.’
The United Kingdom has said no investigation has been launched into more than 60,000 complaints from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on Disappearances.
Korea also raised concerns about delays in transitional justice. Responding to questions about transitional justice, Chief Secretary Bairagi said Nepal was committed to completing the transitional justice system as soon as possible.
Five years after the formation of the two independent bodies of transitional justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances, no concrete progress has been made.
After the expiration of the term of office bearers appointed for the last one year, both the commissions have become officeless again.
At the meeting, some countries raised the issue of press and freedom of expression. He was especially interested in the provisions of the Media Council Bill, Information Technology Bill and the Electronic Commerce Act brought by the government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
The United States, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and other countries were interested in freedom of the press and expression in Nepal.
In Nepal, too, some provisions in the bill have been opposed, saying it would limit press freedom. But the Nepali government has said it is fully committed to press freedom.
Responding to questions raised at the meeting, Chief Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi said, “We have no intention of restricting press freedom.” The constitution guarantees complete freedom of the press and no law will be enacted against it. ‘
Bairagi also said that while raising his press and expression, the rights of others should be respected.
Speaking at the meeting, representatives of many countries also expressed interest in the National Human Rights Commission. They said that the commission should be strengthened by providing adequate resources and attention should also be paid to its autonomy. The South Asian nation of Pakistan also suggested strengthening the Human Rights Commission.
In the meeting, the United States has raised the issue of Tibetan refugees in Nepal. The US raised the issue of the registration of Tibetan refugees in Nepal and the documents they should get. Similarly, the issue of the agreement reached between Nepal and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tibetan refugees has been raised.
The United States sent questions about last year’s mutual legal assistance between Nepal and China, which is linked to Tibetan refugees, border management, and the ongoing Nepal-China extradition treaty.
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