Interaction on Conflict Related Human Rights Violations, National Accountability and International Mechanism

(August 19, 2019)

Schedule and Agenda:

Date: August 19, 2019, Monday

Time: 2:00 PM -4:00 PM

Venue: BhojanGriha, Dillibazar, Kathmandu

Agenda: Outlook of Human Right Activist over Conflict Related Human Right Violations

BACKGROUND

The interaction program was organised by the Discharged Peoples Liberation Army Nepal ( Peace Envisioners ) with the aim to bring National Level Activist for wider discussion about the issues of child soldiers in Transitional Justice Mechanism of Nepal as a war crime and understand the prospective of civil Society over Conflict related Human Right Violations by analysing the challenges of National Accountability, and options of International Mechanism as a solution.

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Lenin Bista facilitated the interaction starting with the background of the issues of the child soldiers of Nepal and explained about the recent status of child soldier s movement where 3 child soldiers spoke about the issue.

Karan Basyal ( Former Child Soldier )

It is a big threat to justice that thousands of us are still denied for recognition, reparation and proper management, we lost our childhood because of the conflict, now we want peace which is only possible through the justice from the State. Achievements of Peoples Movement will only be sustainable, when issues of Transitional Justice are well responded and managed.

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We want a solution at domestic level where Political will of the Mainstream parties plays an important role. Accountability of the political leadership can only prevent this issue to be internationalized.

Tulsi Nepal ( Former Child Soldier )

We were discharged from the Cantonment by UNMIN verification team that means it United Nation Organization itself has certified us as the Child Soldiers. But the transitional Justice Mechanism developed in Nepal did not responded our issues. We were denied for recognition and kept away from the Justice mechanism.

New Transitional Justice bodies are going to be formed and there are some consultations as well. But still we are not been invited in such meetings which clarifies the lack of sensitivity of the State towards this issue and threat of injustice.

Rajan Thapa ( Former Child Soldier )

State and the political leadership were never been serious to this issue, we have been suffering from poverty, deprivation and alienation from more than the decade.

We are continuously demanding for our right. Neither the State nor the Political leadership remained sincere to our agendas.

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Anjana Shakya (Chairperson, Himalayan Human Rights Monitors (HimRights))

Significant numbers of children were directly/indirectly affected by the Armed conflict in Nepal. There are lots of sensitive issues where Women and children were victimized by physical and psychological torture.

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Thousands of children were used in the conflict as soldiers. There are multiple cases of sexual violence. State not being sensitive towards these issues and lack of accountability to the Victims of the Conflict through Reconciliation tools is fueling the frustrations among these communities, Discharged PLA is the prominent example. State should take the initiative to resolve the issue of Child soldiers through dialogue and reconciliation to protect and promote sustainable peace.

Mahamuniswor Acharya (General Secretary at Human Rights Organisation of Nepal – HURON )

The major reason behind the failure of Transitional Justice in Nepal is lack of political will, Political Parties were never been sensitive to this issue. Political commitment from mainstream political parties can only bring the solutions.

Domestic institutions should be strengthened to find the sustainable solution. We should not let the international Community to make the country a playground as per their vested interest.

Bhawani Prasad Kharel ; Civil Society Activist, ( President National Human Rights Foundation-

HURFON)

It is the fact that the children were used in the Conflict as soldiers, which brought multiple impacts upon the Nepalese society, thousands of children lost their childhood and were even denied for recognition and a small package of reparation.

Child Soldiers and their frustrations is a big threat to the State and Peace process. Domestic Transitional justice mechanism should be strengthened to find the solution at National level. Political opponent and the Bar Association are most responsible stakeholders for this issue.

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Dinesh Tripathi, Senior Advocate and Human Right Activist in Nepal

State/government was always aimed to delay and suppress the issues of War crime, Transitional Justice was never a priority of the Political leadership. Resource gap and the lack of political will are the major reason for failure of transitional justice in Nepal. Impunity has been institutionalized by the State that is clearly justified by the failure of the two TJ Commissions in last 4 years.

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Though the ICC mechanism is not valid in Nepal, but Security Council can act as a bridge to refer this issue to ICC. There will be no option to knock the door of ICC through Security Council if this issue is not resolved domestically. Genuine peace can only be achieved through justice with truth, which is a big challenge in Nepal because of lack of political will, and institutional capabilities.

Suman Adhikari, Human Right Activist

We have a bitter experience with the Transitional Justice mechanism made in Nepal, that they were only the tokenistic units to pretend to work for Justice. State and the political leadership never had an attitude of resolving the issues through Transitional Justice mechanism.

There is a recommendation Committee for the new Transitional Justice Mechanism which was supposed to have a wider consultation with the victim families. Unfortunately, it had conducted no consultation meetings as such till the date.

Om Prakash Aryal, Prominent Advocate and Human Right Activist in Nepal

Legitimacy of law is established through rewards and penalty which is called justice. But in the context of Nepal, legal system has been hijacked by the perpetrators side. State has even denied for a small package of reparation for the victim communities like child soldiers, with the assumption that the community will be more resourceful and more powerful, once they are provided with the reparation and they can then demand and fight for the justice which will be challenge to the State. These issues will only be well resolved when there is a Human Right Friendly Government in the country, Independent Judicial System, Powerful Human Right Commission and are backed up by the United Nations.

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Once communications relating to international crimes are submitted to ICC, ICC must do preliminary investigation over it. Commander of any political organization is responsible for policy level crime amounting to criminal conspiracy even he/she was not directly involved on that crime, so there must be a adequate transitional justice system to fit for the leadership.

Dr. K.B Rokaya ( Former MemberHuman Right Commission )

Unified voice of the victim Communities must be supported by the Human right activist to ensure the justice. There are multiple stakeholders of Transitional Justice mechanism, the then CPN Maoist is the most responsible stakeholder particularly for the issue of Child Soldiers.

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Nepal Government is already failed to respond the issue of child Soldiers. Parties of the Peace Accord no longer in exist as an institution, but the political figures are still there, they must be pressurized to resolve the issues of transitional justice at domestic level.

RukMangat Katuwal, Former Chief of Nepal Army.

Political leadership never took the issues of Transitional Justice seriously, they were never been sincere to the victim communities and for their justice. These delay in Transitional Justice will be harmful for the State.

This is our problem we have to resolve this issue domestically by domestic institutions, recognizing the status of child soldiers will be supportive to National Unity and Sustainable peace. If the political leadership became sincere, domestic institutions can find the appropriate solutions.

Anup Raj Sharma, (Chair, Human Right Commission)

Democratic government is accountable to its citizen. Government of Nepal should be accountable to its citizen by ensuring Justice in the Society. Continuous pressure is only the tool to make the Government responsible and accountable.

Civil society must be alert and conscious about either to support or discard the policies and actions of the Government as a watchdog. Finding solutions to the issues of transitional justice in domestic arena must be the priority which is again is the function of pressure building by civil society and solidarity from Human right Activist.

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Charan Prasai; President, Accountability Watch Committee

Issues of child soldier has come to the surface now; Europe tour of Lenin Bista has dragged the concern of International Community towards Nepal its Transitional Justice Process. If these issues are not well responded at domestic level, they will definitely reach to the jurisdiction of international law. Recent dynamics of activism regarding the

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issues of child soldiers has brought new kind of political wave. Also, the pressure from international community has positive impact to strengthen the justice mechanism to meet international standard.

Victim movement should go with more energy and efforts for acceptable justice. Human right commission has already committed that the human right Commission will not be apart of TJ process if it does not meet the criteria international humanitarian laws/standard.

Charan Prasai concluded the interaction with the closing remarks.

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