KAMAL RAJ SIGDEL
Chances are the international accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) may be downgraded for “failing” to meet standards set for national human rights institutions (NHRIs) of UN member states.
The International Coordination Committee (ICC) of NHRIs warned NHRC in March it would be downgraded to B from status A for failure to address major weaknesses, including financial autonomy. A denotes full compliance with the Paris Principles adopted by the UN General Assembly. B denotes noncompliance.
NHRC said the ICC action follows OHCHR Nepal’s biased report about it, a claim OHCHR refutes. “OHCHR Nepal gave biased information about us to ICC portraying us as nonfunctional for getting its own term extension,” said an NHRC member. “We have explained to ICC we are wrongly depicted. We are confident we won’t be downgraded.”
In March, ICC’s Sub-committee on Accreditation had warned NHRC over four main weaknesses: non-transparency in board members’ appointment, the board’s non-inclusive nature, lack of independent status in its new draft legislation, and incapability of partnership with civil society.
NHRC officials trashed all charges. “Members’ appointment is transparent, which includes a parliamentary hearing. Ours is a five-member board, and there is little chance of making it more inclusive,” said NHRC Spokesman Gauri Pradhan. “Also, NHRC is very much capable of partnership with civil society.” Pradhan said the charges, such as on autonomy, are comments on the draft NHRC bill pending with the House. “An organisation can’t be judged according to a law that is yet to be enacted,” he said. The new bill does not recognise NHRC as “independent and autonomous”. It proposes NHRC’s recommendations be not binding on government bodies and that it should not accept foreign funding without government consent.
Officials in the know of accreditation say that the internal war among members has enervated NHRC’s defence and it might be downgraded. OHCHR, a key force influencing ICC decisions, has reported that NHRC has not improved. “We urged the government to implement ICC’s recommendations, including those on the adoption of legislation in full compliance with the Paris Principles,” reads the OHCHR report to the Universal Periodic Review where
Anthony Cardon, Officer-in-Charge of OHCHR-