By Narayan Prasad Ghimire, Kathmandu, May 27: "Only 15.03 per cent of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recommendations are fully implemented by the government while 39.02 per cent enforced partially and 44.05 per cent not implemented. All victims have not been able to get compensation due to lack of adequate budget allocation and dedicated funds".
It was what NHRC Chairperson Top Bahadur Magar said during a programme organized in the federal capital on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the NHRC on Friday. He added despite the continuous commitment of the government to fully implement the NHRC's recommendations, no satisfactory result was achieved.
In the same programme, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' viewed, "The government is effortful to ensure effective enforcement of the Constitution which is adjudged unique in the perspective of human rights." He added the implementation of the people's fundamental rights and advancement towards the social, economic and cultural transformations in society were the priorities of the government.
As pointed out by NHRC Chair Magar, the government's practical adherence to the enforcement of human rights is still lacking. Similarly, as the supreme institution in the country regulating entire state affairs, the government's positive role is sought to respect, protect and promote human rights. It is imperative because we are a democratic country and have commitments to human rights in the national legislation and international human rights instruments.
The NHRC is a constitutional body monitoring human rights violations and making recommendation to the government for action. But, the negligible implementation of NHRC's recommendation paints the government's indifference to addressing the plights of the victims of human rights violations.
At a time when we are on the eve of Republic Day (May 29 this year) and celebrating the Day over the achievements we have made through various struggles till the announcement of the Republic and the rights we have been enjoying since then, it serves as a reminder we should not ignore.
Yes, the empowerment of women, marginalized and backward communities, restructuring of the state with federalism, progressive constitution, inclusive, proportional and participatory governance and elections are remarkable achievements of the Federal Republic we have. On May 28, 2008, the first meeting of the Constituency Assembly elected in April 2008 announced the country as a federal democratic republic, thereby abolishing a 240-year-plus-old monarchy.
Since the announcement of the federal republic, Nepal wrote and promulgated a new constitution on September 20, 2015, which laid a solid legal foundation for the implementation of federalism. Two elections held for three tiers of government- local, provincial and federal- since the promulgation of the constitution are further steps to consolidate federalism. The legal, financial, and administrative powers have been devolved to the local and provincial levels, which ended the unitary system.
The new system has been much appreciated with the hope that it would usher in good governance and development in the country. However, the system in its very early stage is dented by several factors such as corruption, slow development activities and a slumping economy.
Once we listen to political parties and their leaders, one of the common things they mention is- they are fully committed to good governance and they would not protect corrupt persons but eliminate corruption. To sheer contradiction, the recent mega corruption scams, organized crime, and fraud- fake Bhutanese refugee scams- implicating multiple parties and their leaders have exposed the parties' failure to control corruption. Saying a thing and doing otherwise is blatant treachery to the people.
Undoubtedly, the incident has been a blot on the country's image. It has a direct impact on public trust in political parties and systems. The frustration and anger among people over the scam have mounted distrust in political parties, which is evidently a bad omen in a multi-party system. Political parties and leaders are major actors in a multi-party system, so their clean image and honest behaviour are essential. It is high time our political parties stopped the erosion of public trust and contradiction to prop up a federal republic.
It is worrying that for some days, the political parties are exposing each other with cases of corruption they are involved in and fomented, and denuding their images. At the same time, they are vowing: they are against corruption! The federal system needs the utmost transparency, accountability and responsiveness of public agencies including parties. In addition to the general public, the behaviour of political actors has an impact on the country's legislature, executive and judiciary. In order to nurture a fledgling federal republic, improved culture is warranted by the parties.
Similarly, it is time to see how our political parties and public agencies will be able to maintain the rule of law and good governance so that people, the ultimate beneficiaries of the federal republic, would be ensured rights and justice as aspired by the Constitution.
According to a recent news story, the National News Agency (RSS) disseminated, Nepal’s public debt liability has exceeded Rs 2,150 billion. The Public Debt Management Office maintained that Nepal has been obliged to pay its public debt amounting over to Rs 2154 billion and 123.9 million, including Rs 1083 billion 473.9 million towards internal debt and Rs 1070 billion 649 million towards external debt as of 14 May 2023.
It shows every Nepali citizen now has a loan of around Rs 73,000. Equally worrying is the ballooning trade deficit plaguing the national economy. Nepal's trade deficit was recorded at Rs 1.2 trillion in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2022/23. It was the trade statistics released by the Department of Customs (DoC) a week back.
It is difficult to deny these facts which paint the sorry state of the economy. In order to run the new system, a better economy must be guaranteed. While observing Republic Day, we should seriously review the lapses and weaknesses that troubled the national economy.
Moreover, it is urgent to intensify the construction of projects such as Fast Track, ensure the smooth operation of mega projects such as two international airports- Pokhara and Bhairahawa, create jobs within the country and stop the exodus of Nepalis, restore the image of public institutions, and take ahead three pillars of federalism together- political, fiscal and administrative. It is fair to say that paying adequate attention to these fronts builds the foundation for institutionalizing and cementing the federal republic. (RSS)