Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ex-chief justice urges govt to respond for peace

Kathmandu, Dec 11 - Former chief justice Bishwanath Upadhyay on Saturday urged the government to make a timely response to the 12-point pact reached between the parties and the Maoists, as well as to the unilateral ceasefire declared by the latter, to resolve the armed conflict.

Speaking at an interaction on the occasion of the 57th International Human Rights Day in the capital Saturday, Upadhyay said, "A group of people have been trying to disrupt the peace process to serve their petty interests on the pretext of armed conflict."

He said that the fundamental rights of the people were in a critical situation due to the indifference of the government towards the decade-old conflict.

At the function, he conferred the Human Rights Honor 2062 on NBA president Shambhu Thapa, former justice of the Supreme Court Laxman Aryal and human right activist Malla K Sundar.

mainwhile National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Nayan Bahadur Khatri charged that the state's continuous defiance of court orders and its indifference to the Maoists' unilateral ceasefire have obstructed the restoration of peace and protection of human rights in the country.

Speaking at a function organized on the occasion of the 57th International Human Rights Day at the NHRC, Khatri said, "Sincere activity and response from the government are necessary for the protection of human rights. But the incidence of human rights violation has not decreased, disrespect for court orders and lack of response to the Maoists' unilateral ceasefire continue, obstructing the people's desire for peace and human rights protection."

While claiming that there was a serious crisis in the government's commitment to protect and promote human rights, he said, "The government has come under criticism for introducing various ordinances including the code of conduct for NGOs. The government has also failed to implement recommendations made by the Commission in the past".

He also demanded that the government take action against those responsible for human rights violations. "The State is a legitimate organization, it should not go beyond the constitution and the law," he said, adding, "In this regard the state should take the recommendations from civil society positively."

He also urged the Maoists to immediately stop abductions and extortion, and respect international human rights laws.

Also speaking on the occasion, NHRC member Sudip Pathak said the government has not yet made public the names of those detained illegally. "We want the government to be sincere in the protection and promotion of human rights," he said.

He, however, maintained that the human rights situation in the past three months (during ceasefire) has improved relatively.

Similarly, Ian Martin, representative of UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that Nepal should immediately ban torture. "In countries across the world effective investigation, prosecution and punishment remain vital steps in addressing the impunity of those who commit torture, and are the ultimate proof that torture will not be tolerated," he said, in a written statement.

He also said that absolute ban on torture is a cornerstone of respect for human rights, and upholding this ban remains a fundamental responsibility for both state and non-state actors throughout the world.

Same as, speaking at another program today, Martin said that the 57th International Human Rights Day was the best platform for all I/NGOs and the government to get united and work for people's rights in Nepal including those of indigenous and ethnic groups.

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