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Alliance for Social Dialogue

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Human Rights Strategic Plan

Brief Context

The political impasse has naturally overshadowed issues of human rights and rule of law. State functionaries including security agencies have failed to maintain law and order; as a result, the situation of human rights has deteriorated. Maoist high-handedness and the security agencies’ reluctance to step in along with the various political-criminal groups taking advantage of the political instability have contributed to this state of affairs. People live in a state of terror in many parts of Nepal. In addition, the excesses committed by both the Maoists and the security forces during the insurgency have not been tackled leaving the culture of impunity loom large.

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

The major strategic areas are accountability, transitional justice, social justice/inclusion and human rights education.

The ASD is working on reflecting national human rights experiences on policies and actions, and promoting the involvement of local and regional stakeholders in the national-level policy-framing debate on human rights. To achieve these aims, ASD facilitates a review of existing policies and actions to identify gaps and supports innovative local initiatives in the field of human rights. It also facilitates the preparation of policy and strategy recommendations by supporting dialogues among stakeholders working to promote and safeguard human rights in Nepal. ASD also supports local organizations in implementing their innovative programs at the local level. Similarly, at the national level, it supports a loose network, called the Accountability Watch Committee, made up of prominent human rights activists, lawyers and journalists to carry out advocacy on issues of accountability and transitional justice; the Committee also supports academic fora to promote human rights education and develop a repository of human rights knowledge in Nepal.

Vision:

Ensure justice and human rights to all irrespective of caste, class, gender, race, ideology and profession.

Goal:

Hold perpetrators accountable and ensure justice to victims by establishing transitional justice mechanism.

Objective

  • Initiate discussion(s) on the status of present human rights movement by evaluating the achievements and shortcomings and way-forward.

Stakeholders: National and International human rights organizations, civil society, NHRC, official institutions.

  • Create a repository of human rights knowledge through research and documentation.

Stakeholders: Human rights organizations, academics and researchers, NHRC

  • Hold dialogues among stakeholders on the issue of accountability and rule of law.

Stakeholders: National and International human rights organizations, civil society, NHRC, official institutions, representatives of political parties and concerned groups.

Major strategic areas in Human Rights:

  • Accountability: The rise of impunity, the plight of the displaced citizens and the general apathy surrounding the fate of the disappeared people reveal the lack of accountability on the part of the government and concerned organizations. The ASD aims to focus on strengthening the accountability of these concerned parties to address the issues mentioned.
  • Transitional justice: Justice or more specifically, transitional justice is one of the most urgent issues, particularly in the aftermath of the decade-long conflict. There is a need for stronger advocacy and lobbying for investigating the war crimes committed by the state and the rebel party, prosecuting the guilty and providing justice to the victims. The ASD focuses on this issue as well.
  • Social justice/inclusion: Another area the ASD wants to focus on is social justice and inclusion. To promote social justice and inclusion, various international organizations have sanctioned group rights, gender rights, cultural rights, child rights, the right to information, etc. Many of these provisions have been endorsed by the Nepali government. There is a need, however, to ensure that national laws are compatible with the country’s international commitments.
  • Human rights education: Human rights could be provided in schools or through the media to inform people about their rights, force concerned authorities to implement legal measures against human rights violations and invigorate the debate on human rights. The ASD aims to promote human rights education in formal academic institutions and make praxis (linking theory to practice) of human rights education in Nepal.

Tools and Strategies:

Project grants, convening dialogues, research, publication, campaigns and advocacy
Strategy outline for collaboration with Open Society Network Programs

1.   Special Initiatives (Rights Initiatives)

Special Initiatives (recently changed into Rights Initiatives) is an Open Society Foundations program that provides funding to groups and individuals on the local and international level to promote human rights and government accountability. The program aims to bolster existing OSF activities by reaching out to new partners and supporting collaboration across OSF programs. The program also seeks to create new opportunities for engagement with civil society organizations working nationally, regionally, and internationally.

Special Initiatives has provided funding to couple of Nepali organizations working on the issues of right to information, LGBTI rights and disability rights. The ASD facilitates its activities in Nepal.