Hon. Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Foreign Affairs, addressed the High-level Segment of the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva this afternoon.
Hon. Minister emphasized on the universal, indivisible, interrelated and interdependent nature of all human rights and called for a holistic look for better promotion and protection of human rights everywhere. He underscored that there should be no selective preference to one set of rights over others and stressed that the right to development should be mainstreamed and be treated on equal footing as civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. While highlighting the profound importance of the right to development for many developing countries like Nepal, Hon. Minister stressed that the realization of this right should be an integral part of the implementation of the SDGs and other internationally agreed development goals.
While reiterating Nepal’s total and unflinching commitment to the value of human rights, he stressed on various legislative and institutional measures put in place in Nepal to further protect and promote human rights of all Nepali citizens equitably. Hon. Minister outlined the equitable, non-discriminatory and inclusive provisions enshrined in the Constitution of Nepal, and mentioned that our efforts to internalize Nepal’s international human rights obligations through domestic laws and enforcement measures are ongoing. He shared that active media, large number of national human rights institutions including the National Human Rights Commission, civil society organizations as well as independent and competent judiciary in Nepal are always striving for better promotion and protection of human rights in the country. He further reiterated the commitment of the Government of Nepal to addressing the issue of transitional justice and expressed that the Government is fully committed to provide all support to the effective functioning of both the Commissions established for this purpose.
Updating the Council on the recent political developments in Nepal, he said that the Government is committed to implement the Constitution, including through holding of democratic elections for all three tiers of the federal set-up, and the elections for local bodies have already been scheduled. He informed that the Government wishes to accommodate legitimate aspirations of all segments of the society and it is in this spirit, the Government of Nepal is engaged in dialogue with concerned stakeholders to address some of the issues where differences persist.
Hon. Minister informed the international community about Nepal’s candidature to the Human Rights Council for the term 2018-2020, which shows our sincere desire to contribute to the work of the Council. He stressed that fair opportunities of all interested States to serve in the UN Human Rights Council would contribute to the common goals of promotion and protection of human rights everywhere, and solicited support from all member and observer States to Nepal’s candidature.
Hon. Minister has been holding bilateral meetings with the heads of delegations of various countries on the sidelines of the Session. Matters of bilateral cooperation, recent developments in respective countries, advancing issues of mutual and common interests at the international forum, human rights and Nepal’s candidature to the Human Rights Council is being featured as main topic of discussion in such meetings. He had a meeting with H.E. Ms. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Minister for International Development and the Pacific of Australia yesterday afternoon during which discussions were held on mutual cooperation in multilateral mechanisms and strengthening Australian cooperation of technical and vocational education/trainings to Nepali nationals, among others. Hon. Minister had a meeting with H.E. Mr. Mustafa Ramid, Minister of Justice of Morocco on 28 February during which issues of cooperation at international fora, including at the Human Rights Council and potential cooperation between both countries were discussed. Similarly, during the meeting with H.E. Mr. Zahid Hamid, Federal Minister for Law and Justice of Pakistan this afternoon, both Ministers discussed cooperation in the international fora as well as promotion of bilateral and regional cooperation through the mechanism of SAARC.
Similarly, Hon. Minister held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Peter Szijjarto, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary this afternoon during which both Ministers noted the need for more bilateral interactions between the two countries. They discussed potential investment of Hungary in matters related to water management, including hydropower development as well as cooperation in exchanging agriculture related technology. The Hungarian side informed that they have available funds and internationally recognized expertise, and are interested to collaborate with Nepal in these areas. They also discussed opportunity for Nepali students to study in universities in Hungary on scholarship.
In the same manner, Hon. Minister met H.E. Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the latter’s office today. Hon. Minister appreciated the existing good relations between WIPO and Nepal. While apprising Mr. Gurry of the incredible richness of biodiversity in Nepal, along with traditional knowledge, cultural expressions and folklore, and the challenges of preserving and protecting them through intellectual property rights, Hon. Minister underlined that it requires human, institutional and physical infrastructures as well as capacity to be able to harness the opportunities of innovation and technological advancements. They also discussed on the need of establishing an integrated IP office to better coordinate these issues at the national level, and the benefit of the codification of Nepal’s traditional knowledge and cultural expressions towards protecting intellectual property rights of these unique resources. The WIPO Director General was positive to continue its support to Nepal in the areas covered by WIPO, and also visiting Nepal at some convenient time in future.
Members of the Nepali delegation, including the Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN in Geneva H.E. Mr. Deepak Dhital accompanied Hon’ble Minister at these meetings. Hon. Minister’s bilateral interactions will continue tomorrow as well.
Embassy/Permanent Mission of Nepal
28 February 2017