KATHMANDU, June 29: A senior official of the International Commission of Justice (ICJ) has expressed concern that monitoring of human rights situation in Nepal has weakened in the absence of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that was forced to leave the country last December.
"Absence of UN human rights system has seriously weakened the ability of the international community to understand what is happening in Nepal," said ICJ´s Regional Director for Asian and the Pacific Saman Zia-Zarifi on Friday.
The Maoist-led present coalition compelled the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to leave the country by refusing to renew the mandate of the UN human rights agency.
"Monitoring of human rights situation has gone down markedly," Zarifi told Republica in an interview. "OHCHR used to carry out the monitoring. The national human rights institutions do some of that [monitoring], but they do not have all the resources."
Asked what ICJ and the international human rights community are doing to fill up the vacuum left by the exit of the UN human rights agency, Zarifi said that they are pushing the UN to release the conflict mapping report prepared by the OHCHR.
"We think it is essential that the report be made public because it will shed some light on what happened and raise some important questions," said Zarifi on the ongoing international efforts to forward the cause of justice for the victims of conflict-era human rights violations.
Zarifi is currently in Nepal to launch a report entitled Commissions of Inquiry in Nepal: Denying Remedies, Entrenching Impunity, which studied 38 inquiry
commissions established between 1990 and 2010, and took stock of the ICJ´s project in Nepal. The ICJ´s work in Nepal largely focuses on transitional justice though it has been working for judicial reform and for improving access of women, especially the Dalit women, to justice.
Zarifi said the government and the parties cannot run away from their responsibility of providing justice for past human rights abuses.
"At the basic level, despite the constitutional crisis, the government still has a responsibility to provide justice. After the CPA (the Comprehensive Peace Accord), the parties have commitment to provide justice," he said, "The government has made a commitment under the international law to provide justice."