Nepal: UN and national human rights body agree on guidelines for cooperation

20 February 2009
Richard Bennett (right) with Kedar Nath Upadhyay of Nepal after signing agreement

The United Nations today welcomed an agreement with Nepal’s national human rights body on guidelines for collaboration and cooperation in promoting and protecting the rights of people in the South Asian nation.

The pact drawn up by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR–Nepal) and the National Human Rights Council (NHRC) sets out a framework for sharing skills, knowledge and experiences between the two bodies.

“Key areas of collaboration will include the promotion of human rights through the dissemination of information and educational materials and the organisation of joint trainings for, amongst others, government, law enforcement officials and civil society,” said Richard Bennett, the OHCHR Representative in Nepal.

“Both OHCHR and the NHRC will continue to actively engage with civil society in the pursuit of human rights goals and undertake joint activities with civil society partners, particularly human rights defenders, wherever appropriate,” added Mr. Bennett.

He noted that OHCHR will continue to monitor human rights in Nepal, and follow up cases it has investigated over the past four years, but will refer new complaints of human rights violations to the NHRC.

“My Office will then meet regularly with the NHRC at regional and national levels to provide technical assistance and advisory services and undertake joint activities on these cases,” he said.

He stressed that the two bodies aim to “share responsibility for enhancing human rights, including in the fight against impunity, and to promote the Government’s compliance with international human rights treaties to which Nepal is a party.”

Earlier this week, Mr. Bennett called on the Government to ensure full army cooperation with police and judicial authorities in bringing to justice the former royal army personnel who tortured and killed a 15-year-old girl five years ago.

He said that “the lack of progress in the case of Maina Sunuwar is emblematic of the overall lack of accountability for human rights violations which occurred both during and after the conflict in Nepal between 1996 and 2006,” referring to the decade-long war between the then Royal Nepalese Army and Maoist guerrillas.

 

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