National Human Rights Commission: Challenges of Biswo Nath

biswo nath upadhyay. nhrc chairman

Many of us have admired the role of Biswo Nath Upadhyay. The former Chief of Justice in the Supreme Court is a tested democrat and his role in the movement against king Gyanendra’s autocracy was lauded by the public. And he has been awarded by the Nepal government for his contribution: Biswo Nath Upadyayay has been appointed the the new Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission. [Upadhyay has said that the will consider the appointment only after studying the the list of the members. He expressed his dissatisfaction over the fact that Prime Minister didn’t consult with him while appointing the members of the commission. Other members are: Udaya Nepali, Gauri Pradhan, Tulsi Bhattarai and Lila Pathak.] The Commission will have the status of a constitutional body in the interim constitution. Upadhyay will have tough challenges as the head of NHRC because we are going towards crucial time ahead. Nepal will be holding the election of constituent assembly, the country is in transitional phase and we can expect challenging times for the Human Rights. Let’s face it: Upadhyay has been branded as Kangresi (loyal to Nepali Congress). His first challenge will be to prove that he is not a Kangresi but a true democrat. Though Kangresis love to say that Nepali Congress is democracy and vice versa or Kangresi is a democrat and vice versa, the country will demand high level of fairness from the new chairman of the NHRC. CPN UML must be still skeptical about Upadhyay for his alleged controversial role as the Chief Justice. He should also win the trust of UML.

It’s almost sure that Nepali Congress will lead the interim government. Even in democracy, governments tend to bend rules and play by their own rules when it comes to human rights. The interim government will be extraordinarily powerful. With such power governing leaders might think that they can do anything. In that situation, NHRC must play the role of a true watchdog. NHRC must see things from peoples’ perspectives. At the height of autocracy of king Gyanendra, the Commission played the role of a government ministry and a former Chairman advocated the repression in international forums. That was a shameful act which discredited the Commission internationally. Upadhyay must restore the image of Commission to the level that people could undoubtedly trust its reports and statements and government must be forced to act as per its voices. Good luck, Biswo Nath Upadhyay.

In the mean time, we still admire you for what you said in this interview: “King Gyanendra Should Backtrack