Tuesday, October 23, 2007

OHCHR hails decision to institute quotas in police agencies
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) has welcomed the decision last week of a cabinet meeting to allocate quotas for women and members of marginalised groups - Janajatis/Adivasis, Madheshis, Dalits and people from backward areas – in vacant posts in Nepal Police and Armed Police Force (APF).
“The police forces’ adoption of quotas for filling vacant posts can serve as an example to all civil services of the steps they can take in order to make their recruiting processes inclusive,” a release issued by the OHCHR said.
OHCHR also remained that it had long been urging the police forces – and other government institutions – to take steps to make their workforces more inclusive. In March 2007, the Office had written to the APF asking for a breakdown of its personnel belonging to marginalised groups, following violent incidents that starkly highlighted the lack of inclusiveness in police forces.
"During riots in Nepalgunj in December 2006, the Nepal Police was accused of acting partially. The issue resurfaced again in the January and February 2007 Madheshi Andolan in Terai districts. The recent violence in some Western Terai districts again stresses the need for such inclusive hiring measures."
OHCHR, however, expressed disappointment over the appointments in 28 secretary-level posts last week because only three persons from marginalised groups got chances.
“OHCHR-Nepal suggests that the quotas announced last week be applied across the ranks of the police forces, ensuring representation of women and marginalized groups in the officer ranks. It also urges the NP and APF to take a further step and adopt an inclusive hiring policy for all future recruitment,” the statement read.
“Making provisions to include historically marginalized groups in the police forces and other civil services will signal that the commitment to inclusion made by political leaders is indeed genuine. It will also address some current demands of these groups, thus strengthening the peace process as it moves toward Constituent Assembly elections,” said Richard Bennett, Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal.

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