Nepal: the ICJ urges strengthening of human rights provisions

The ICJ welcomes important step taken by the Fundamental Rights Committee towards constitutionally guaranteeing fundamental rights in Nepal but also points out serious weaknesses.

The Committee’s recommendations were submitted to Chairperson Nembang on 13 November 2009. The CA members will now consider these provisions over the next five days before the text will be submitted to the 15-member Report and Draft Texts Study Committee.

“An important step has been taken towards guaranteeing and protecting fundamental rights in Nepal. The ICJ welcomes and continues to support this process, and this is the basis for its letter to the Rt. Honourable Chairperson,” stated Vincent Calderhead, Director of the ICJ-Nepal office.

“While welcoming the Committee’s efforts to protect fundamental rights, the ICJ also urges CA members to consider strengthening the text in key areas,” explained Mr. Calderhead.

The ICJ’s letter, which was distributed to all CA members, raises serious concerns in three areas related to: the definition of fundamental rights; limitations on fundamental rights; and measures provided for the enforcement of fundamental rights.

“Without significant changes, the current provisions do not meet Nepal’s international human rights obligations, particularly in guaranteeing the right to life, to liberty and security, freedom of expression, to substantive equality and, as well, in the area of economic, social and cultural rights” he continued. “As a result of the use of overly vague and broad language, many restrictions and limitations violate Nepal’s international obligations.

“There is also a grave weakness in that many rights are made dependent for their effect on future legislation” added Mr. Calderhead. “While it may be the intention of the Committee to ensure timely implementing legislation, without further clarification or removal of ambiguous text, our concern is that these provisions will undermine or delay guarantees of fundamental rights” he concluded.


See also Comments on the proposed fundamental rights provisions of the constitution of Nepal


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