Reading Between the Lines of Royal Decisions

Will Nepal’s HR Commission work for people?

By Dinesh Wagle on May 28th, 2005 in Wagle Street Journal

I do not know how many decisions the government took yesterday, but two of them made me scratch my head. One about the National Human Rights Commission and the other related to the release of several political detainees. The term of the old committee had expired and the Commission needed new leadership. Many people in and outside Nepal were seriously concerned about the nomination in the Commission. They were anxious about the ‘type’ of the faces in the new leadership. Many people, mostly democrats, wanted the contuniation of existing committee. For them, it was like ’something is better than nothing’ (Nahuhu Mama Bhanda Kanu Mama Niko). The government cleverly decided to continue Nayan Bahadur Khatri as the Chairman of the Commission but completely reshuffled the members.

By doing so, the royal government has killed two birds with one arrow. Akabar might ask: how? Birbal has answer: Look, international community, I have continued the same committee that democratically elected government constituted. Look, same old Nayan Bahadur Khatri is there, at the top, smiling and heading the Commission. Now shut up and throw us some packages of AID. One bird killed.

Nayan Bahadur is no more an independent personality, especially after he openly supported the Feb 1 royal takeover and blasted political and democratic forces in Geneva recently. He echoed Supreme Court Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma in Geneva. Khatri repeated what Sharma did in Australia a few weeks ago.

The main duty of NHRC is to expose human rights violation from any side- State or the Opposition. Unarmed people rarely violate human rights. Those who violate HR are the ones with arms, be it government forces/police or the terrorist declared guerillas. Both sides harm unarmed people while fighting with each other. The duty of Commission is to raise voices of people in cross fire. The man who supports the regime openly will never expose violations perpetrated by the regime. He will not speak for people. He will be the puppet of the regime. Another bird killed.

If you talk about the new members of the Commission, its about more than just killing two birds with an arrow. Before, members of the Commission were very much active to raise the voice of the people. Chairman Khatri, in front of the whole world, shamelessly interrupted Member Sushil Pyakural in Geneva meeting recently when Pyakural was talking about HR violations after Feb 1.

New members are a total hopeless. One journalist is there in the new committee: Gokul Pokhrel. Do I have any hopes from him? Very little considering how he has presented himself after Feb 1. In fact, Pokharel, former editor of state-owned daily Gorkhapatra, is the only person in Nepal who expressed negatively of the royal takeover in English language and strongly advocated the same in Nepali language.

He, the president of Nepal Press Institute, an organization heavily dependent on foreign INGO donations, reportedly expressed negative views regarding the Feb 1 to attract donations. But State-owned media Gorkhapatra, Nepal Television and Radio Nepal were full of his advocacy of the Feb 1 royal takeover. Foreigner do not understand Nepali language, he rightly thinks so and works accordingly. And Nepalis do not read his English language press releases.

How about other three new members of the commission? Dr Ram Dayal Rakesh? Well, he told a reporter this afternoon that he will talk about human rights in literature, his background. Waw! Sudip Pathak? He is the most hated person in human rights community. Still, I think he is the only feeble hope. Sushila Singh Shilu? Well, we need an active NHRC member. I have gathered that she is not active. And this former justice of SC has limited knowledge about HR issues in Nepal. All in all, there are so many birds killed by this decision. What I can only say now is that Ian Martin, the UN guy, needs to work hard. Nepalis can’t trust this Commission for their rights.

Now, about the release of 75 political detainees. Yes, that’s good. Nobody should be in jail just because they hold ideology that is different than that of the government. But why the prejudice? Why some prominent politicians are still behind bar? Most importantly, why Narahari Acharya and Ram Chandra Paudel are not released? Just because they presented different views regarding monarchy in Nepal even before Feb 1? Acharya talked about major restructuring of governance and direct election of the PM. Paudel once talked about Nirmal Niwas and Maoists in the same sentence. Is the regime being personal?

13 Responses to “Reading Between the Lines of Royal Decisions”

Chakshu Says:
May 29th, 2005 at 12:29 am

Yes, Yes, Wagle. don’t ask your readers why Narahari is in the jail and the crown prince P receives felicitations. The logic should be like this: Narahari harmed the country; and Crown prince P served the country during the past 14 years, that is why he is facilitated by the “people.” …What…help me…I am paralyzed…can’t think properly. Don’t ask such questions again, plz..plz..

Human Rights Says:

May 29th, 2005 at 12:42 am
Why THIS NHRC Won’t Work For Nepali People:

Press Statement from Human Rights Organizations of Nepal:

May 28, 2005, Kathmandu

We strongly protest the illegitimate and illegal body of the National
Human Rights Commission (NHRC) formed under the previous chair Nayan
Bahadur Khatri on May 27, 2005 through the amendment of the National
Human Rights Commission Act (NHRC), 1997. We understand that this
amendment and formation of the body demonstrates the regime’s
continued attempts to dismantle democratic institutions in the
country, which began immediately after the assumption of all executive
powers by the King on February 1, 2005.

1. The process of formation of the new body of the NHRC through the
illegitimate amendment, via ordinance, of the NHRC Act violates the
basic norms of “rule of law” and further proves the elimination of
“rule of law” in the country. We are convinced that this body will
not be autonomous, sovereign and independent.

2. It is certain that the newly formed NHRC will play an active role
in covering up human rights abuses in the country, while the term of
the previous chair Nayan Bahadur Khatri has been extended because of
his obvious key role in demolishing the independent status of the NHRC
by publicly supporting the regime after the February 1st royal move at
a time of increasing human rights abuses. His support for the
February 1st move was also publicly noted during the Asia Pacific
Meeting of the National Human Rights Commissions in Geneva on the side
of the 61st session of the UN Commission of Human Rights. We also
believe that the newly formed body of the NHRC will comply and bend to
the will of the regime while carrying out its activities.

3. It seems useless to expect the protection of human rights from the
appointed members, who have remained so close to the regime and have
never hesitated to supply confidential and sensitive information
regarding human rights organizations to the state. There is no basis
on which to trust the independence or impartial investigation from
such unethical and unmerited people. The members were selected as a
reward for supporting the regime, and the NHRC no longer complies with
the norms of the “Paris Principles” of the National Human Rights
Institutions that includes autonomy, independence, impartiality,
efficiency and professionalism. We are convinced that this
illegitimate body of the NHRC will not carry out any activities in
support of victims, and will instead be supportive only to the regime,
which consistently curtails the civil liberties of the people.

Finally, we state that civil society and the human rights community do
not intend to carry out any form of dialogue, support or coordination
with the newly formed NHRC body, whose very means of formation is
undemocratic and whose members favor autocracy and do not support
democracy and human rights.

On behalf of 25 human rights organizations,

Subodh Raj Pyakurel
Dr. Gopal Krishna Siwakoti
Shobhakar Budhathoki

jhayp Says:

May 29th, 2005 at 1:52 am
wagle, please refrain from using the politically incorrect proverbs like nahunu mama bhanda…….hope you understand.

Harke Says:

May 29th, 2005 at 2:25 am
Harke suggests this proverb: Chorlai chautari Sadhulai suli!!

sameer Says:

May 29th, 2005 at 9:56 am
This new NHRC committee is full of KGB’s. Don’t expect the HR record in Nepal to get any better. Innocent bystanders in remote villages stand no chance now- if Maoist kill them, it will be reported, and forgotten. If army gets to them, even worse, they will be portrayed as maoists, reported and forgotten. Great for KG eh? Win win situation atleast for a while..

sisyphus sharma Says:

May 29th, 2005 at 10:05 am
today’s kantipur hints at the corrupt existence of sudip pathak poking the chaudha lakh stuff. this is where i feel the inherent tragedy lies.

i wud have admired kantipur had it followed the stuff before the appointment . but it is told now that sudip may be corrupt. oh if so, how is susil pyakurel ?wat abt his nepotism in insec? is he clean? if he isn’t , isn’t it a duty of a vibrant media to expose the double faces of this illfated nation’s human right activists ? how many human right activists are non corrupt in this nation ?

wagle, u r a journalist n u may know it better? so can u shy away from ur duty to expose these chameleon-sort-of human right activists ? u will because ur myopic prescription for the diseases plaguing this nation doesn’t include the sterilisation of democratic institutions n the abstract civic society. u follow the views that r easily available in market n put all of them in this site.

u see , this may bring u some fame n popularity (which i belive ,if not properly handled are vices indeed ). but wat abt the nation ? u see this unending gossip abt democracy , abt sizzling onions n giggling stomachs in new york or pizzas of siudney , wat sense do they make? it is again pathetic when u see factual errors here.

u say ramchandra paudel talked abt sital niwas n maoists in one line? really? isn’t it nirmal niwas , dear? so i am amazed how do things work in ur brain? how do things work in journalists’ brain in nepal is really an enigma?

u see the other day, a guy was talking abt the death of shreesha karki? u poeple love to refrain from talking such things? thanks god, gopal budhathoki lost the FNJ elections? but does that prevent him from being wat he is? u see , isn’t gopal budhathoki and company a blot to u guys who at least ,i believe , do not blackmail noney from smugglers , dirty politicians, bureacrats, black marketeeers n sundry.. n wat abt that kishor shrestha? u see, wat if u do a investigation on the difference of his material pelf in a single decade?

so when journalism keeps on thriving with such elements with mask on their face, u see, progress, even if it does happen will be too slow? so this is the darkness we are living with. let the struggle take time. but this time it must be last n final. so for that we need to weed out suck masked jouranlists, human rights activists n civic society activists ?

u see, sundar mani dixit continues to preach us on the imporatnce of peace? isn’t that vulgur? isn’t it vulgar when time n again the [icd] kishor shreshtha publishes articles regarding social transformation n revolution? wagle, it’s all dirty here. n plz do not make more dirtier if u can’t do anything good . my only fear is this site being a useless gossipmongerer’s junction as nepalnews chat.

Wagle: Sisyphus, Thanks for your comment. And thank you very much for pointing out the factual error that Paudel spoke about Nirmal Niwas, not Shital Niwas as I had reported. I regret the mistake, have corrected it promptly and thanks again.

I have to admit that mistakes are bound to happen in every field. Even papers like NY Times have regular Correction column. I will try to reduce mistakes in my writings.

Rest of your comment is full of prejudice. Seems you are too much frustrated and I understand that’s not unusual considering the situation of the country. We youth should have patience, Sisyphus. You can (and have to) do a great service to this nation. Time will come.

sisyphus sharma Says:

May 29th, 2005 at 10:10 am
i wonder why wagle needs to sensor me time n again .i tend to believe that wagle’s faith in democracy n open discussion is fake . i had no wrong wrods typed in my comment but it doesn’t appear . sad . somepeople sing the song of democracy to gag other’s voices . it’s sad n pathetic.

Srikant Says:

May 29th, 2005 at 1:09 pm
What nonsense!! Just because Gopal Siwakoti Chintan could not get into the NHRC, doesn’t mean the appointment is bad. There are good people. Khatri has been there from the last 5 years. Sudip Pathak is a well known human rights activist. Pokherel is a well known journalist. Others are good and clean too. When there is no leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister, what other way could there be an appointment of the members of the commission?

What have Subodh Raj Pyakurel and Sobhakar Budhathoki done to the human rights situation of the country that they should be appointed the NHRC members? They are political party pimps who know only to embezzle donor money. This NHRC was made a money-making whirlpool by Kapil Shrestha, and others. There were also cases of adultery inside the commission. Secretary of the commission Jogendra Ghimire resigned unceremoniously. Now, all these should be corrected.

sameer Says:

May 30th, 2005 at 9:41 am
sisyphus (ji?)- your comments are all over the place. So are you trying to say that the civic society should not try to negotiate peace between government and maoist? How much do you REALLY know about the dedicated HR activists, journalists and members of the civic society? If you made a decent effort you’d find that a lot of these people are currently risking going to jail by stating their opinions in public. Then you go on to question Wagle ji- you talk democracy but question people that are trying to give us a uncensored point of view that (face it) is certainly not coming from Nepalese media due to censorship. You even have negative comments regarding Dr. Dixit- do you even have a clue how much he is risking by writing/speaking under these difficult times? Even if Sudip Pathak is corrupt, of which there appear to be indications, there is no way any article stating this will be allowed to be published. He is KG’s choice so don’t expect any negative news regarding him to be published. Your viewpoints stray from reality- your writings exhibit frustration, without a solution.

Judge Says:

May 30th, 2005 at 9:44 am
I understand the comments by Wagle, sisyphus sharma and Srikant. All are right in their perspectives; that is why every one is wrong!

King, parties, journalists, HR activists – noone of these people is clean. Where every one is mistaken is in differenting chor from dakas. Let’s simplify the matter.

Given the record of our kings and durbarias, I have little doubt that they are dakas. Parties, HR activists and journalists are just chors. The danger with the these dakas is that they show up in the form of Sadhu. The good thing about chors is that they are visible!

My verdict: Go for Chors rather than Dakas. Chetana Bhaya?

Rajesh Says:

May 30th, 2005 at 1:40 pm
The recent appointment at NHRC is well balanced and I would like to congratulate government for doing this. Except Sudip Pathak, all are not puppet of the donors. Although Sudip Pathak did many things in the past to impress donors, he is not as corrupt as previous members of NHRC. I can say for sure that three members Gokul Pokhrel, Silu and Dr Rakesh have never worked in the areas of human rights for donors. Unlike their predecessors, they will not be puppet of donors. I know people like Sushil and Kapil have made fortune because of thier involvement in NHRC. I feel very sorry for only sincere member Ms Indira Rana who have made disfunctional because of these thugh. I have tremendous respect for her for her commitment and sincerity. But noone is giving any credit to her.

sameer Says:

May 30th, 2005 at 2:47 pm
Judge- chetana bhaya

anonymous Says:

May 30th, 2005 at 11:28 pm
Rajesh,may we call you Raja?

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