The National Human Rights Commission Nepal (NHRC-N) is organizing a South Asian regional conference in Kathmandu to facilitate a regional dialogue, provisionally titled Identifying Challenges, Assessing Progress, Moving Forward: Addressing Impunity and Realizing Human Rights in South Asia. The conference will bring together NHRI’s, government bodies, civil society members, lawyers and human rights activists to discuss human rights challenges in the region and to identify common approaches and joint initiatives that will protect and promote human rights.
This gathering will primarily focus on impunity- an area of human rights relevant to South Asia. In context to post conflict setting, particularly in four of the South Asian countries, this area has been taken into consideration. Discussions will emphasize on the difficulties faced by human rights defenders while examining best practices in the work of different human rights actors, particularly with respect to engagements with national human rights institutions. This will allow participating delegations to both recognize these common challenges, while identifying ways for NHRIs to move forward in working with each other, and with Human Rights Defenders, domestically and regionally.
Embracing the issue of fundamental rights, which are necessary for democratic society or governance, this is an opportunity to discuss the state of execution of these rights, and challenges in their implementation and the problem of impunity. Listening to regional and international experiences, the conference will provide frequent points of linkage to the circumstances faced by Nepal, and the Nepali constitution.
The ultimate goal of this conference is to strengthen the impact of NHRIs by strengthening mechanisms of cooperation between them around the region and in their own respective countries with other HR stakeholders, by showing effective pathways for working with HRDs and key civil society actors, to promote accountability and justice, and to overcome problems of impunity. By explicitly acknowledging these challenges – some of which may be particular to one or more states, and others of which will resonate throughout the region – we lay the groundwork for next steps: strategic interventions, greater transparency and accountability from NHRIs, and more effective outcomes from development programs.
The facilitators and moderators at this conference will draw on common interests to ensure that even while participants discuss contentious areas, this occurs in a spirit of mutual respect, good will, and openness to learning from the experiences of actors engaging in different modes of advocacy. While legal mechanisms for achieving justice are important, this conference will also seek to advance an understanding of means by which community organizing, the use of media and policy advocacy may be used to advance the protection and promotion of human rights.