Statement by Honorable Mr. Govinda Prasad Sharma Koirala, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Peace and Human Rights and Head of the Nepali Delegation at the High-Level Segment of the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, 28 February 2023
Mr. High Commissioner,
It is my great honor to address the High-Level Segment of the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council.
Firstly, allow me to congratulate you, Mr. President, for your election. I also take this opportunity to congratulate the High Commissioner for Human Rights for his appointment.
The suffering of the people in relation to enjoying human rights and human dignity continue to rise due to growing conflicts and lack of fulfillment of basic needs of the people.
As we are commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon the international community to realize and make concerted efforts for the universal promotion and protection of human rights.
The Government reiterates Nepal’s total and unequivocal commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. The Constitution of Nepal guarantees most of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Under the Constitution, not only civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights are enforceable.
In addition, the Constitution provides for a national human rights protection system by establishing independent National Institutions.
Similarly, the Constitution guarantees judicial independence, rule of law, freedom of press, and civic space, among others.
Recently, Nepal successfully conducted free and fair periodic elections at all levels of government. In line with the Constitutional provision, we have been implementing inclusive principles to enhance the participation of the marginalized sections of society in the governance structures.
For example, the elections have resulted in over 33 percent women’s representation in the federal and provincial parliaments and 40 percent at the local level.
Nepal’s legal frameworks strictly prohibit sexual and gender-based violence. Harmful traditional practices against women and girls are outlawed. Sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls are protected. We have also ensured the protection of the rights and identity of sexual minorities.
We have pledged to eliminate child labour and child marriage. Caste-based discrimination is strictly prohibited by law, and such acts are being strictly investigated and perpetrators are brought to justice.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion as a fundamental right. We believe that freedom of religion cannot be impaired by coercion or monetary inducement for conversion.
We have already put in place a gender-responsive budgeting system. Recently the Government launched the second National Action Plan for implementing the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace and Security.
Nepal places great value on the safety, security and well-being of migrant workers, and we have been engaged in bilateral, regional and multilateral forums for the protection of their human rights.
Despite the impacts of the COVID pandemic, climate change and other crises, Nepal is committed to achieve SDGs by 2030. We are set to graduate from LDC status by 2026. Nepal is committed to achieve net zero emission by 2045.
Nepal continues to remain engaged with human rights bodies and mechanisms. We have been responding to communications and are committed to submitting periodic reports to the treaty bodies.
The Government has launched combined ‘Fifth National Human Rights Action Plan (2020-2025) and implementation action plan of 3rd cycle of UPR recommendations (2021-2025). It is being implemented in collaboration with various stakeholders.
The Government of Nepal is extending full support to all the National Human Rights Institutions, including National Human Rights Commission, to enable them to fully implement their mandates. Nepal is committed to ensure the compliance of the Paris Principles so that the National Human Rights Commission continues to enjoy ‘A’ status.
Nepal reaffirms its commitment to conclude the transitional justice process and provide justice and reparation to the victims of conflict as we move towards establishing reconciliation in society. In this endeavor, we will be guided by the Comprehensive Peace Accord, the directives of the Supreme Court of Nepal, and relevant international commitments, as well as the concerns of the victims.
For this purpose, after conducting nationwide consultation with the relevant stakeholders including the victims, amendment of the Enforced Disappearance and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2014 was tabled in the Parliament in July 2022. Because of the expiry of the tenure of the parliament, the bill could not get through. It is in the highest priority of the government and the new amendment bill will be tabled in the parliament soon. The amendment proposal recognizes reparation as a right of victim.
I assure you that Nepal has the capacity to conclude the process of transitional justice giving full respect to the afore-mentioned standards. Let me assure you that under Nepal’s transitional justice process there will be no amnesty in the case of serious human rights violations.
Finally, Mr President, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Nepal wishes to underline the importance of upholding the approach of genuine dialogue and cooperation on human rights agenda. States should adopt an objective, non-selective, and impartial approach and should refrain from politicization of human rights issues.
In the Council, Nepal has been calling upon states to engage in diplomacy and dialogue and resolve disputes through peaceful means, and to protect human rights of all including women, girls and children under all circumstances while respecting international human rights and humanitarian laws.
My delegation wishes a successful conclusion of this session.
I thank you Mr. President.