Wednesday, December 27, 2006

NHRC moves to tackle cases backlog
As complaints of human rights violations have piled up at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the commission has launched a special program to resolve the backlog of cases.
"The commission is planning to resolve all of the over 65,000 cases in the backlog by next September," said Dhruba Nepal, acting secretary at NHRC.
Under the special program, NHRC first collects all the cases from different districts and sends out a special team to a particular district to probe the complaints. The team stays in the district concerned until it has probed all the cases.
"Sometimes the team stays in the district concerned for a month and probes all the cases," Nepal said. The program, which has come into effect since November, has already settled the backlogs in Ramechhap, Dolakha and Sindhuli districts.
Previously, NHRC members used to prioritize the cases and send the team to the districts only for those special cases. "This way, many cases in many districts which didn't get priority were left unaddressed and their numbers kept on piling up," Nepal said.
With the number of cases reaching over 65,000, NHRC decided to settle the entire backlog so as to provide justice to the victims.
NHRC has received Rs.18.3 million from the Asia Foundation for the purpose. "It's a one-year program and we have expressed our commitment to reducing the backlog of cases as much as possible," he said.
NHRC, however, encountered new cases once its team visited the districts concerned. Besides this, NHRC has also faced a problem in identifying persons related to the cases. "When our teams visit the districts, sometimes the persons who filed the cases are not found in the area and it is difficult to recognize a particular person since the case could have been filed more than six years ago and the person concerned may have lost hope," he said.
NHRC encounters problems not only while probing the cases, but it also faces a crisis after a case is probed. NHRC, in the absence of its members, can't recommend to the government necessary action against the culprit once a case is probed. "This is also one of the reasons why the commission hasn't been able to resolve cases," said Nepal.
NHRC, after its members including the chairman submitted their joint resignation in May, has probed about 300 cases, but it hasn't been able to recommend to the government necessary action over them. The government's poor response to the recommendations, says Nepal, has also caused difficulty in carrying out further investigations. According to NHRC statistics, the government has implemented only 16 of the 147 recommendations made by the commission to date.

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