Human Rights Defenders
Who is Human Rights Defender?
- Someone who promotes and protects human rights
- Who respects good laws
- Who is independent and impartial
- Who does not support or/and believe in violence
- Who does not have her/his political agenda
- Who does not discriminate one group against other or one rights against others
- Who does not exploit people for his/her own benefits
- Someone who believes in human rights principles
Meet with Youvraj Kafle, a Human Rights Defender from Nepal
RNP: Namaste Youvraj Kafle! Thank you very much for being with us for interview. Could you tell us about yourself and your work?
I had been working on the promotion and protection of human rights in Nepal since 1993, started from the information collection and documentation of the violation of human rights in remote and isolated areas of Nepal.
These Sorrowful experiences of people encouraged me to work for the promotion and protection of human rights with stronger commitment. I started working with national human rights NGOs in Nepal. After eight years experience, I went for further studies to Bangkok, Thailand where I completed one year course in International Development Studies from the Chulalongkorn University. The course helped me understanding the security issues of human rights defenders and mechanism available to them. It encouraged me to take lead in building the capacity of human rights defenders when returned to Nepal. Till now, I have trained around 250 national and local human rights defenders and some internationals on the security and protection of human rights defender and organizations. I was also part of efforts for the promotion of transitional justice and constitution making in Nepal. After such a rich experience in my own country, I realized the need to go to other countries and share my experience with them. Presently, I am with United Nation Mission with Darfur where I am managingthe protection of conflict affected children unit and implementing the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution 1612.
RNP: How is situation of human rights in Nepal? What are the main human rights issues in the country?
Nepal have been shadowed by the political crisis. Main human rights issue is impunity and then comes discrimination and corruption. The increasing culture of impunity in the country has threatened both human rights and human rights defenders in the country where law is unable to protection both. State is unable to hold perpetrators of human rights violators accountable. Victims of political conflict have been waiting to see the formation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other commissions on disappearances as reflected in the peace accord 2006. Marginalized community have not been welcomed in the open public space, they have been pushed back by creating different criteria and mechanisms which are absolutely discriminatory. Socio-economic rights of the people have not been taken into consideration by the political parties just because it does not serve their political interest.
RNP: How is the security situation and protection of human rights defenders in Nepal?
As I already explained that how culture of Impunity has been deeply rooted in Nepal and how it has been preventing people from enjoying their rights. In these circumstances, when individuals are above the law, how human rights defenders can feel secure. There are cases when human rights defenders beaten, harassed and even killed, but perpetrators are still at large. Women HRDs were raped but nobody was brought to book.
RNP: Would you like to comment on the role of Human Rights Commission of Nepal in the promotion and protection of human rights?
Legally speaking, National Human Rights Commission of Nepal is independent and established by the National Act and commissioner are apparently recruited by the recommendation of constitutional body of Nepal but in reality recruitment was done on the recommendations of different political parties. This can show the effectiveness of the commission. As a result, very few recommendations of national human rights commission have been implemented by the government. Once the Human Rights Commission summoned the Chief of the Army but he didn’t pay heed to the call. Movements of Commissioner were restricted during thee the conflict period. Commission was fully dependent on the finance ministry for the allocation of budget which robbed its independence and paralyzed it.
RNP: How is situation in Sudan where you are currently based?
I am working with a big umbrella of the UNAMID which is focusing on the issues of children affected by the armed conflict. We have been implementing the mandate of security council resolution 1612 in Darfur and we have achieved what we expected despite the challenges we faced.
RNP: Anything you would like to share with readers?
I would like to say that we all should pledge for peace and respect for human rights everywhere including my country Nepal.
RNP: Thanks Youvraj for your time. Your are really doing a great job. Stay safe, God Bless you.