Dr. Geeta Pathak Sangraula
Mr. Bihwo Bhakta Dulal (Aahuti)
Mr. Somat Ghimire
Mr. Anup Subedi
Contemporary Agenda of Human Rights
Panel Discussion at 6th Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival
The country has entered into new phase with implementation of federalism. The elections to local, provincial and federal level has institutionalized the federal structure and the governments of all three levels are in place now. This has created new opportunities as well as challenges for human rights defenders in Nepal.
After the 2006 movement for democracy, different political and social agenda including rights of marginalized communities surfaced. The agenda of republic and constitution assembly as the major political agenda were seen as the agenda for inclusion of the communities and people, who were excluded for centuries and who were not provided equal access to opportunities. This is the right time to review, where we are now on those agenda of inclusion. A major question remains, have we been successful to realize those agenda? If yes, to what extent?
One of the major agenda of the recent phase was that of the government closer to the people and direct participation of people in political decision making. The country has achieved that, in principle, through the election of local governments. Now it needs to be ensured that the local communities have their active role at local decision level. How we can achieve that? We need to discuss that and chalk out a common way for all the human rights defenders.
As the space and scope of governance have shifted, so will the centers for advocacy. From one “Singhadurbar” to many “Singhadurbars”, from law making process at one center to that of 761 centers, human rights defenders need to focus on multiple avenues. What mechanism we need to develop to ensure it, should be one of the major concern for human rights defenders.
It is not only the case of nation’s political structure shifting, it is also the question will we see new agenda of human rights now? Inclusion, participation, peoples’ rights- there are several issues to be addressed from federal to local level. On the other hand, there are issues of globally accepted “Sustainable Development Goals”. How are we looking at it? Is the human rights community of Nepal prepared for it? Such questions need to be looked into with adequate care and pro-activeness.
With most of the rights and responsibilities delegated to the lowest level of government, there may rise conflict between the governments and the communities. More so in the case of rights to and management of natural resources. The laws that are drafted of the model laws provided by the center for local levels almost have overlooked the community rights, which many communities are already enjoying. How should we address this is an important question for the coming times.
The platform of 6th Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival is one of the places to discuss these issues. In an environment, where human rights issues from around the globe will be showcased, it could be a good platform to start a noble, if not new, discourse.
We invite your questions, your views, your thoughts and different angles based on different ideologies on it at this event.