GYAN P NEUPANE
KATHMANDU, Nov 25:The heads of both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), have expressed serious dissatisfaction over government apathy toward the two transitional justice bodies.
TRC Chairman Surya Kiran Gurung and CIEDP Chairman Lokendra Mallick have accused the government of weakening the two bodies by not providing legal and financial support. Gurung has even threatened to quit his post if the situation doesn’t improve.
“We haven’t received sufficient support from the government and in this situation we can’t even conduct our thematic investigations effectively. Therefore, I have informed the prime minister that I may quit the post if the situation remains the same,” Gurung told a group of lawmakers who visited the TRC offices at Babarmahal on Friday.
Members of Parliament’s Social Justice and Human Rights Committee visited the TRC and CIEDP offices with a view to study the work progress at the two bodies.
Gurung explained various difficulties that have compelled him to contemplate resignation. He informed the visiting parliamentarians that some of the major factors that he became discouraged over were delay in amending the TRC Act and the unsupportive behavior of the authorities in providing financial support to the commission.
“We have received hundreds of conflict-related complaints from across the country and currently we have just updated the details in the computer,” he informed the committee members. “But I am worried that we will not be able to conduct thematic investigations into the complaints as the original term of the commission is expiring on February 10.”
He also said that the commission is ready to conduct investigations in the field but has been unable to carry out the key tasks due to financial constraints. “I will not remain here just to receive my salary,” he said. “So I strongly request you all respected parliamentarians to help us get the much-needed government support.”
According to Gurung, the commission has received 57,753 complaints from the victims of the insurgency.
Similarly, CIEDP, the commission formed to investigate conflict-related disappearances cases, also expressed serious dissatisfaction over non-cooperation from the government.
“The government seems unconcerned over the commission’s difficulties even as the term of the commission is expiring within months,” Mallick told the lawmakers Friday at the commission offices. “How can I work under such circumstances?”
CIEDP has received over 2,800 complaints from those whose kin were disappeared during the 10-year insurgency.
“We are carrying out preliminary investigations into registered complaints but we don’t have enough manpower, budget resources or the related laws to carry out these key tasks,” said Mallick. “We will finish the preliminary investigations of registered complaints in the next one-and-half months.”
After that the commission has to start thematic investigations in the field but lacks the manpower for doing so.
“Neither has the government provided us the staff nor allowed us to recruit necessary hands,” he explained.
The existing Act allows both the commissions to recommend extensions of their tenures by one year.
After hearing the complaints from commission officials, Sushil Kumar Shrestha, chairman of the parliamentary committee, assured both the chairmen that the committee would raise their grievances with the government.
“We have repeatedly issued directions to the government to formulate the laws and provide sufficient budgets and other support. We will now call on the prime minister and the concerned ministers for a serious discussion on this matter,” he said.
First appeared in Republica