Nepal Today

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ELECTION DATE ANNOUNCEMENT PROBABLY THURSDAY Kathmandu, 20 March: Home Minister Madhav Ghimere, Women Affairs Minister Riddhi Baba Pradhan and Information Communication Minister Madhav Paudel have been appointed members of the constitutional council y Chairman of of the interim election council Khil Raj Regmi at a meeting of the cabinet, Annapurna Post reports. The appointments that matures in 48 hours or Thursday weren’t formally announced after the cabinet meet. President r. Ram Baran Yadav amended or ‘removed obstacles’ to appoint the council members. According to an old constitutional provision, the prime minister, speaker and leader of the opposition were members of the council to appoint chiefs and members of constitutional bodies. Election commissioners and members of other constitutional bodies will now be announced. Election date will be announced after the appointments. Nepal Police has recommended phased elections in early because of staff shortage, Nagarik reports. IGP Kuber Singh Rana suggested this to Home Minister Madhav Gjo,ere who visited police headquarters Tuesday. nnnn{ HOME MINISTER GHIMERE TALKS ELECTIONS WITH POLICE AT THEIR HEADQUARTERS Kathmandu, 20 March: Minister for Home Affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire today directed Nepal Police to make preparations for the upcoming election to a new constitution assembly, The Himalayan Times reports.. “As the integrity of the upcoming election is vital for the future course of the nation, we should all begin preparations for free, fair and peaceful polls,” said Minister Ghimire during his first visit to Nepal Police Headquarters after assuming office last week. He urged the Nepal Police to take bold decisions while enforcing reward and punishment policy within the force. “Separating the wheat from the chaff is today’s need and I have strong faith in the police force that they will strengthen the security body working in the front-line,” he said. “There may be alternatives to development work, but the issue of peace, security and crime investigation can never be put off till tomorrow,” Minister Ghimire added. He further directed the officials to demonstrate good conduct in day-to-day operations and treat people courteously. “Violence against women, caste-based discrimination and social malpractice are inexcusable and police should take these issues seriously to win the public trust,” he said. Minister Ghimire pledged to extend all kinds of support to the police to solve the problems facing the security body in all possible way. On the occasion, Inspector General of Police Kuber Singh Rana expressed commitment to follow the suggestions and guidelines given by home minister. “We have already issued directives to all police units across the country to stay alert and enforce special security measures to pave the way for peaceful environment to hold free and fair election,” said IG Rana, adding that Nepal Police will ensure that people could reach the voting centres to exercise their rights. HoHA warns Holi revellers With just a week before Holi festival, the Ministry of Home Affairs has warned against throwing water-filled balloons or smearing anyone with vermillion or colours against their wishes. Issuing a warning, the ministry said targeting people including women and children, who do not wish to be part of the celebrations, is against law and is punishable. The ministry has warned that legal action would be taken against those who are caught harassing people and randomly throwing water-filled balloons at them. Meanwhile, police said security has been stepped up in the Valley in view of pre-Holi revelry and pranksters causing trouble to people. Holi will be celebrated on March 26-27. Nnnn TIME MAGAZINE MENTIONS FIELD MARSHAL KAISER’S GARDEN OF DREAMS AS A MUST VISIT PLACE IN WORLD Kathmandu, 20 March: Time magazine has rated Nepal’s Garden of Dreams as one of the favourite places to visit in Soul section of its Travel Special, The Rising Nepal reports.. Its reporter Karen Leigh writes in the March 25, 2013 issue of the internationally acclaimed and famed weekly, “If you find yourself in the frenetic Thamel tourist district of Kathmandu and overcome with a need for tranquility, leave the Nepalese capital’s snarling traffic and persistent hawkers behind you and make for this lush greensward across the street from the former Royal Palace.” “Coverage of Garden of Dreams in Time magazine has put Nepal once again in the international tourism map, and image of Nepal as a happening destination has been redeemed,” said Aditya Baral, Director and Spokesperson, at the Nepal Tourism Board. Karen Leigh further writes,” Designed in the 1920s as a private garden, its wide lawns, surrounded by bamboo, fountains and exotic trees are the perfect place to revive after a grueling climbing(or shopping) adventure. Walk its immaculately kept perimeter paths before find a spot to lie on the grass and read a book, the sounds of the city drifting overhead.” Built by late Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana as his private garden representing six seasons, Garden of Dreams, a neo classical historical garden was renovated and restored from 2000 to 2007, and opened for public in 2008. “Since history is attached with it, the Garden of Dreams exemplifies the perfect amalgamation of pristine nature, age-old culture and perfect heritage management, therefore, all tourists visiting Kathmandu should not miss out to pay a once visit to this serene popular preserved Garden" said Baral. (Note; Field Marshal Kaishe’s built the garden form proceeds while gambling one year dusing Tihar, reports say. Kaiser library in the ministry housing the education ministry next to the garden, is also Asia’s biggest personal library, according to a claim.) Nnnn SERIOUS FOREIGN RESRVACIONS OF TRC Kathmandu, 20 March: The Kathmandu-based international community, particularly the western and European blocks, have expressed serious reservation over the recently endorsed Truth and Reconciliation Ordinance, Anil Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post.. The ordinance, which was endorsed by President Ram Baran Yadav last Thursday with an amendment after suggestion from the four major political parties, has removed the provision of blanket amnesty on serious human rights abuses committed during the insurgency. Though the new ordinance now has the provision for prosecutions on serious cases of human rights violations, it gives the TRC Commission and government agencies discretionary power to drop prosecution, including in cases of rape. A problematic section is Article 29 in the law which empowers the Attorney General to decide, upon a written request from the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, whether to file a case against a human rights violator, said a source. “Thus there a three-layer barrier — the Commission, the Ministry and the Attorney General — is deliberately created to deny justice to the victims.” “The commission is empowered to recommend an amnesty even in the cases of rapes, if sufficient reasons are given. And most importantly, 99 percent of the rape victims haven’t survived,” said the source. A meeting of Human Rights Working Group led by British Embassy in Kathmandu will be meeting soon where it will put in paper its reservation and opposition to the new law, according to diplomatic sources. The countries represented at the working group are the European Union delegation and other European countries. “The EU (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, UK and EU delegation in Nepal plus Switzerland and Norway) and other countries will soon meet with top leaders of major political parties as well as government officials to amend the law according to the international standards,” said sources. The new ordinance on the ‘Commission on Investigation of Disappeared Person, Truth and Reconciliation’ in its current form is a step backward from what was earlier drafted by the parliament, said a diplomatic source. The source added, it needs improvements to be able to provide justice to the victims, saying Section 23, ‘Amnesty Provisions’ is probably the most problematic part of the law. Speaking against the preamble and earlier articles, subsection (1) says ‘The commission may, on the basis of sufficient reasons, recommend for the grant of an amnesty’, which the international community has expressed serious reservation. The law also fails to meet international standards in many respects despite its optimistic preamble and good article-2 which is contravened by many of its following sections, said the sources which was explicitly opposed by a section of the diplomatic community. Except for these two items, the whole law has serious shortcomings, the informed sources said, there is no section that makes the perpetrators of the violations of crimes listed under Section 2 stand before justice. “The Commission formed to address so sensitive issue has been asked to work under the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, instead of making it directly answerable to the Government of Nepal or the President.” Furthermore, the ill-intention of the law is severely exposed in its sections 22-29; the commission is empowered to facilitate reconciliation in the application of either the ‘perpetrator’ or the ‘victim’. “Given the high political access of the perpetrators, it’s thus ascertained that many of the perpetrators will apply for such facility which in all likelihood may turn into a forceful reconciliation simply on the basis of a superficial apology or compensation,” said the sources. While focusing on the symbolic acts of reconciliation, component of justice is missing. The commission ‘may’, instead ‘must’ seek the consent of the victims prior to making reconciliation. Section 23, ‘Amnesty Provisions’ is probably the most problematic part of the law. Speaking against the preamble and earlier articles, subsection (1) says ‘The commission may, on the basis of sufficient reasons, recommend for the grant of an amnesty’. The demand of ‘sufficient ground’ therefore has left room for similar manipulations, said the sources, subsection (2) is more dangerous. It says ‘Not withstanding anything contained in subsection (1), on the serious human rights violation cases including rape which lacks sufficient reasons and grounds for granting amnesty following the investigation of the Commission, it shall not recommend for amnesty’. “A UN principle on restorative justice requires transitional justice to be a broad-based process ensuring stake of the victims as well,” said the diplomatic source, adding, by making the commission a part of an opaque political deal, the parties, right at the outset, have failed to meet their international obligations. nnnn MIGRATION TO WAR-TORN COUNTRIES ON RISE Kathmandu, 20 March: Despite potential security threats, many Nepalis are being drawn to high-risk, war-torn countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. While deepening poverty and the lack of employment opportunities in the home country are push factors, migrants are attracted by the high salaries offered, Rishan Sedhai writes in The Kathmandu Post.. “Since these countries have a scarcity of human resources, they are offering good salaries to workers,” said Bal Bahadur Tamang, chairman of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies. However, the government has banned Nepalis from entering these countries for employment, which has led to agents exploiting potential migrants, said Tamang. “The government needs to lift the ban.” Despite the ban, unofficial figure claim that there are around 40,000 Nepalis each in Iraq and Afghanistan. “There are many Nepalis where I am working,” a Nepali working at Dyn Corps International in Afghanistan told the Post over the phone. “Since we work inside the security camp, we are safe and the work is easy.” According to him, Nepali workers earn between Rs 100,000 to 1 million a month depending on the nature of their work. “The only problem we face is the compulsion to pay exorbitant fees while coming into and getting out of the country,” he said. The temptation of good wages has also attracted Nepalis to lucrative jobs with the army, police and security forces in countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. As these countries suffer from an apparent scarcity of workers, they offer salaries much higher than others in the Gulf. Hence, workers also need to pay more to smugglers while entering these countries. “They said they would manage a job with a minimum salary of Rs 50,000 and that there would also be overtime. But upon reaching Iraq, we went through completely different circumstances,” said Mohan Lal Sapkota, 35, who returned from Iraq in September last year. Sapkota, along with Rupen Chhantyal, 25, Hari Chhantyal, 25, and Man Bahadur Sunar, 30, were deserted by their agents once they reached the Iraqi province of Kurdistan. Another prospective migrant from Dharan, who was undergoing an interview at the Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu for the Abu Dhabi Police, said he had been asked to pay Rs 600,000 to be recruited. Experts point to the government’s weak monitoring and inaction for these cases but government officials are not ready to shoulder the blame. “We have realised that the greed of workers is the source of this entire problem. Most of the workers going to these countries are comparatively well-off, educated and know the risks involved,” said Purna Chandra Bhattarai, director general of the Department of Foreign Employment. Bhattarai said these workers usually complain to the department once they are betrayed by agents. Chairman Tamang further accused that government of not punishing some employment agencies for charging much higher fees while recruiting workers for security jobs in the army and police. Stating that there is no provision to pay more than Rs 80,000 in to go to the Gulf, Tamang urged officials to strictly monitor malpractices. However, it is not just war-torn countries that are favoured destinations for their high wages. Many Western countries, especially the US, are high on the list of Nepali migrant workers. Records show that hundreds of gullible workers have been cheated by traffickers on promises of getting them to the US. Some have returned home having reached as far as Mexico and El Salvador. In August 2012, Costa Rican authorities detained seven Nepalis without im migration papers who were headed to the US with the help of agents. Another group of workers, held for several months in India and Indonesia, claimed to have paid Rs 2 million to get to the US. nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “The government’s task is to create conducive environment for the election. I am confident that Regmi will step down as chief justice of his own volition.” (NC leader Gopalman Singh Shrestha, The Himalayan Times, 20 March) "We are moving through a very risky road, there are ambush all around. There are possibilities as well." (Chairman Prachanda, The Rising Nepal, 20 March) nnnn


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home