Deputy High Commissioner in Nepal addresses outstanding issues in peace process

“As members of the Constituent Assembly, you shoulder the hopes of all Nepalese for a better, fairer society in which they can all claim their rights as equal human beings, and you have behind you the full support of the United Nations and the international community in this historic endeavour,” Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang informed the Legislature Parliamentary Committee on International Relations and Human Rights on 19 April.

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights addresses the press in Nepal  © OHCHR Photo/Nepal

After a decade-long conflict that killed thousands and ruined many more, Nepal is in the process of drafting a new constitution as a key benchmark in the peace process.

“Today, I would like to focus on two major tasks that rest upon you. First, to fully turn the page of the conflict by addressing the claims of thousands of victims who continue to wait for truth and justice,” said the Deputy High Commissioner.

“Second, through drafting the new Constitution, to establish a new foundation for national order in the country based on respect for human rights, the rule of law and justice and equal rights for all Nepalis,” she said.

Kang pointed out that pursuing accountability for perpetrators of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law during the conflict is an essential element to combating impunity and consolidating peace.

Kang also pointed that the process of drafting the Constitution offers an unprecedented opportunity to address longstanding discrimination and social exclusion, recognised by many as one of the root causes of conflict.

“Combating discriminatory practices in Nepal – including ‘untouchability’ and bonded labour systems such as Haliya, Kamaiya and Kamlari – is undoubtedly one of the key priorities for the country”, she said.

During her three-day visit, the Deputy High Commissioner is meeting with representatives of the Government, National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organisations. She is also participating in a national consultation on access to justice for victims of caste-based discrimination and a roundtable discussion on strategies to end discrimination against women in Nepal’s citizenship laws.

Read the media statement of the Deputy High Commissioner

20 April 2011