A ray of hope: Govt translates seven UN views and publishes online

United Nations Palais des Nations, Geneva

United Nations Palais des Nations, Geneva

After years of procrastination, the government of Nepal has taken a first step towards implementation of the decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee by translating into Nepali and publishing online seven of the cases decided so far.

The decisions (called ‘Views’) concern cases brought by individual Nepali citizens against the government of Nepal for human rights violations committed against them.

In nearly all of the cases concerning Nepal the Committee has called on the government to translate the Views into the local language and to disseminate them to the general public. Out of 12 cases decided by the Committee so far, the government recently published the Nepali translations of seven cases on the official website of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM).

The translated cases include those of Yasodha Sharma, Kedar Chaulagain, Dev Bahadur Maharjan, Shanta Sedhai, Ram Kumar Bhandari, Jit Man Basnet and Sharmila Tripathi.

The case of Yasodha Sharma, the first to be decided by the Committee, was submitted in 2006 by Advocacy Forum-Nepal, and decided in 2008. The Committee found that Yasodha’s husband, Surya Prasad Sharma, was the victim of enforced disappearance by state security forces.

The case of Dev Bahadur Maharjan, victim of arbitrary arrest and torture, was submitted by Advocacy Forum in 2008 and decided in 2012. The case of Shanta Sedhai, whose husband Mukunda Sedhai was disappeared by the state, was brought before the Committee in 2008 and decided in 2013. Similarly, Kedar Chaulagain, whose daughter Subhadra Chaulagain was killed by Nepal army forces in 2004, filed a case with the support of Advocacy Forum and REDRESS in 2010. The Committee decided the case in 2014.

Likewise, the cases of Ram Kumar Bhandari, Jit Man Basnet and Sharmila Tripathi were all represented by TRIAL (Track Impunity Always) before the Committee. The cases of Bhandari, Basnet and Tripathi were filed in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Ram Bhandari’s father Tej Bahadur Bhandari and Sharmila Tripathi’s husband Gyanendra Tripathi were disappeared by state security forces, while Jit Man Basnet is a victim of arbitrary arrest and torture. The Committee rendered its decisions on all three cases in 2014.

While the recent translations are a positive development toward the delivery of justice to the victims, the government has yet to take any significant steps to fully implement the decisions. The decisions of the Committee have urged the government to, among others, provide effective reparation to the victims’ families and to undertake a fair investigation into the violations committed, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“The translation is a small step in the right direction as it is part of a process of acknowledging the government’s responsibility for what was done. But that is not what we were really looking forward to. Our fight for justice will not stop unless we see the perpetrators behind bars,” said Shanta Sedhai.

The translation of the decisions also coincides with a year-long campaign ‘Real Rights Now’, recently launched by TRIAL, Advocacy Forum, REDRESS and JuRI-Nepal jointly. The campaign’s main objective is to put public pressure on the responsible government authorities to implement the decisions of the Committee and to deliver justice to the victims.