LONDON: The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights organized a programme on ‘The Constitution Conundrum: The Elusive Search for Justice in Nepal’ at the House of Commons here in Westminster on Wednesday (May 11).
The event is held 17 days before the extended deadline for drafting new constitution expires in the Himalayan nation. Nepal’s leaders are still at odds on various crucial issues even as the deadline for drafting new constitution is drawing closer.
Speaking at the programme chaired by Virendra Sharma, MP from Ealing Council, Liz Philipson, a freelance researcher specializing in South Asia, bemoaned at the lacklustre peace process in Nepal.
“Actually, there is no peace process: there is just peace, that too in the absence of war; but no process at all,” she said. “The constitution writing process is adversely affected due to several contentious issues, mainly federalism and PLA management. Widespread impunity, leaders’ lack of intention to implement the decisions taken and factionalism within the parties are other problems plaguing the nation,” she added.
Dr Mara Malagodi, an expert on Nepal, who lectures at SOAS, University of London, on ‘Society, Culture and Politics in Nepal’, said the lack of transitional justice system after the 10-year Maoist insurgency has been denying the victims of the war crimes justice.
“Absence of necessary bills is resulting in perpetrators getting off scot free,” she said. “Commissions on disappeared and truth and reconciliation have not been able to function due to lack of will by political leaders and government.”
Various speakers stressed on the need to exert pressure on the Nepal government and party leaders for bringing the perpetrators of the war crimes to book.
Ram Kumar Bhandari, Nepali rights activist and chairperson of National Network of Families of the Disappeared and Missing, who was due to attend the event had sent a video message from Berlin Germany as he could not make it to the function due to visa complication.
Peace Brigades International (PBI), a non-government organization working for peace building, had supported the programme.
Earlier the same day, PBI and Britain-Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) had jointly organized a seminar on ‘Enforced Disappearances and State Accountability in Nepal’ at Russell Square. The event was chaired by Professor Michael Hutt.