Conflict victims today submitted a memorandum to Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, suggesting revisions to modality for consultations on Transitional Justice Act amendment.

Organising a preliminary consultation with stakeholders on September 16, Minister Dhakal had presented a modality for holding broad-based consultations in all seven provinces to gather inputs for amendment to the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act-2014. In the memorandum, Conflict Victims Common Platform suggested holding consultations with victims and other stakeholders, separately. It said putting everybody together might result in victims being overshadowed. Separate consultation with victims should be held for one full day prior to holding discussions with other stakeholders, stated the memorandum.

The modality put forward by the ministry has proposed holding consultation with 80 stakeholders, comprising victims, party representatives, media persons, police and army

personnel, in each of the seven provinces. As per the proposal, each discussion will last for five hours from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.

“Proposed five hours will not be enough to gather inputs from all stakeholders. So separate day-long talks should be held with the victims, a day prior to consultation with other stakeholders,” read the memorandum. The victims have also suggested for clarity in the questionnaire. They suggested developing separate questionnaires in consultation with experts for separate issues related to transitional justice, such as reparation, ascertaining truth, prosecution and special court. The victims said provincial headquarters might not be accessible to all victims for holding consultation, specially those in the most conflict-hit areas. So the venues should be fixed in a way to ensure maximum participation of people from conflict-hit areas.

“Conducive environment should be created to ensure that victims of rape and sexual violence put forth their concerns without fear or hesitation,” read the memorandum.

Regarding the ministry’s proposal to include 20 conflict victims, among 80 participants, in the proposed consultation, the CVCP said the proposal should be clear on the body that selected the participants from among the victims, and that the CVCP be recognised as the main stakeholder.

According to the memorandum, rapporteurs should be designated prior to the consultation programmes, and a report should be made public immediately following the consultations. The victims also said all the processes related to consultations should be monitored by the National Human Rights Commission. Former chairman of the CVCP Suman Adhikari said they proposed such revisions because they could not completely trust the government because of its past activities. “We cautiously welcome the government’s move,” he said.

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