Rethinking of Human Rights Training for Challenges to be meted out? -Kanhaiya Prasad Joshi
Intensity of Individualism has preceded collective life style high up day by day even in the developing countries like Nepal in today’s world. As a consequence, the homogenous institutions like Guthi (Trusts) established for the welfare, protection, cooperation and solidarity among community lives are in the due process of being shattered down gradually. Many people residing in the urban areas like Kathmandu have begun to curtail these sorts of customary practices heavily. Hence, as the string of ties got thinner, due to replacing process of joint family by the nuclear family life style, self-centered mentality flourished vehemently that enforced individuals to neglect even the minimal respect towards other people’s feelings. Family disputes regarding the property fragmentation and holdings are the commonest problem in newar community in the capital of Nepal and such problems have been made more chronically woeful by the bad governance of the state machinery embodied with the corrupted bureaucracy. The government owned companies like Guthi Sansthan and government bodies like Survey and Topographical Ofiice, Land Revenue office and local government including the Judiciary office like courts are found involved in making the socio-economic conflicts being made cancers.
Despairingly, the people from the highest level of leaders and bureaucracy are found involved in the violations of human rights. Sometimes, even the Human Rights leaders and activists are found associated to such malpractices. At least, a news or two pertaining that to violations of human rights cases of one kind or another; big or small are found published in the newspapers everyday as if everyday is the day of human rights violations day. Obviously, if even the law makers or the top level intellectuals violate the human rights deliberately then how could we expect from the commoners? Further, top level being privileged of the position and authority, they are likely to abuse their position and power provided by the state in influencing. In case they are found guilty, they are generally either ignored of their mistakes or given support by the state machinery instead. In the cases of accusations they are usually given excuse or their case be kept pending for years thrusting the victims either to surrender or compromise as per the will of mistake-doers or compelled to withdraw the complaints. This is the scenario of the present day Nepali society at a glance. Similarly, under-mentioned are some of the incidents referring the violations of human rights defecting the Good Governance and Democracy as well which were published in the national daily newspapers as the hot cakes attempted by none other than the law makers and high profile officials of the administration and security including the national economic backbones the Big Business Houses.
• Red Passport Scandal- Abuse of authority- By Law makers - worth millions of rupees.
• Sudan Scandal- Abuse of authority- By police personnel, beaurocrats, ministers- worth billion of rupees
• Thapathali Land Scandal- Abuse of Authority- By the former Chief of CIAA- worth billion rupees.
• Kamalariya ( the bonded labor ) – Violation of H R- By Law maker- Against the law
• Rape Case – Violation of Child Rights- By Human R Leader
• VOIP By pass Scandal- Thieving of State money- By the close relative of leading and reigning political family- worth trillion of rupees.
• VAI Bill Scandal- By the leading Big Houses- Cheating- worth trillions of rupees
• Chari Don Petting- hypocrisy - By the top political leaders
• Mobile Frequency Scandal- abuse of authority- By Ministers- worth trillion of rupees
• Breaking of Political parties and forming new parties- breaching the people’s faith for the minister berth- By Law makers
• Deliberately making Leading Finance Companies bankrupted- by the Executives of the Board of Directors- breaching the general share holders’ trust.
• Wedding Scandal- Violation of HR- By Lawmaker
The reasons behind these sorts of violations are:
• Lack of education
• Lack of Human Rights awareness
• Lack of theory being put into practice
• Lack of good Governance
• Lack of enforcement of laws
• Lack of political stability
• Lack of national consensus on national interest and against the unhealthy external interferences as well.
• Due to ideological, political and partisan conflicting interests
• On account of a decade long Maoist insurgency
First of all, due to lack of education, general people would not know whether the things they are doing or lawful or unlawful. But the mere education is not enough whether their deeds are rights or not. So in this stage, one needs human rights awareness too. But mere awareness is not enough unless the learned things put onto practice.
Moreover, in order to control the people or to bring the general people into right track, good governance is the must and for that enforcement of laws in the right direction should be a healthy and effective. Similarly, in order to maintain good governance and effective law enforcement system top political leaders are able to vital role, But to play the effective role by them, there should be stability in the political system and the government formation. Otherwise, they would always be busy in securing the chair and could not play right role of leadership in running the state and government. These sorts of securing the chair exercise have been going through since more two decades soon after the restoration of multiparty system since the 1990’s up rise against the authoritarian system called Panchayat Era. During almost a decade and a half long exercise of multi-party democracy, several governments came into existence without much a do. It was because of lack of political instability. Between these decades, Nepali people have had faced two transitory periods and the current present since last five years, we have been undergone through the transitory phase.
But for such instabilities in Nepal, there exist the vital role of the external factors; Nepal has become one of the important game fields for the international sectors to play the game plan in the international political arena. It has become stiffened especially after the rapid growing tough rivalry between emerging two giant economies in the world those lie in the north and south of Nepal. It is happening on account of the bi-polarity of the ideology and political systems exclusively.
But undoubtedly, if the political parties do not come in the common ground for the national interest and integrity, then naturally, the outsiders would play ploys in order to fulfill their vested interests. Hence, there should clear cut policies on international relations and economic policy based on national interest and development. Again, there should be clear policies on security and protection of sovereignty
Pivotal Role of Human Rights Education:
Thus, in order to minimize human rights violations like else where in the other parts of the world, human rights education has become as much important as the other formal liberal or technical education in Nepal too so as to make each one’s life living worthy being peaceful physically and spiritually. It ought to be so because moral science has almost ceased to be effective. Similarly, social norms and values are usually neglected or ignored.
Generally, like other fields of learning or education. Human Rights can also be devised in two forms: that is academic and non-academic. Human Rights had been given as a paper in the Bachelor degree under the faculty of law since many years and in the recent years. And seeing the rising importance of the very subject TU has already endorsed it as the exclusive subject in the Master degree level entitled as Masters in “Conflict Management, Peace Building and Human Rights” in the recent years whereas other Universities in Nepal has allocated Bachelors degree on Human Rights and as a paper on it including TU under the management, education and humanities faculties. Giving HR as the exclusive subject in the academic sector has its own importance.
But knowing basic human rights principles and its implementation aptly in the everyday life is much more important in today’s society and community than the years- long academic courses.
Hence, trainings play a very significant role particularly in the field of human rights awareness. More than that it would be better to say it should be the must for to be a real human being in order to control innate residing negative feelings within every mankind. It has been necessary as the ideal thoughts and expected behaviors asserted by the religions are becoming withered.
Trainings at a glance:
Generally trainings are given to 20 to 40 people at a time by the NGOs with the aid of donors ranging from one day to four days. But it’s a matter of research still today how many people have had received such trainings so far within the nation with the sponsorship of various donor agencies and INGOs and NHRC of Nepal and how many people receives such training a year in a day on an average ? How many such programs are there? How many NGO’s etc.?
I do not think NGO’ s giving such training has had kept any database of their trainees or participants and I do not think they had developed any follow up programs or systems to monitor to observe their trainees’ change of attitude and behavior then so after in Nepal till date. If any NGO has done it, it could be considered as an exception.
• The trainees are fed with the HR conventions and protocols.
• They will be acquainted with the hearsay Human Rights otherwise strange?
• Some get changed, some takes as the professional and some become practitioners and the rest gets at least confused whether to violate or not. Anyway, it works to some extent.
• Fast forgetting despite of the 2/3 days long workshop cum training.
• Illusion likely to be created towards the trainer, organizer and the participants themselves.
• Attitude and behavioral changes are generally not found satisfactorily.
• Participants are found just to get attendance certificate (to enrich CV profile), meals, and stipend for pocket expense and chit chatting time passing only contrary to the laid objectives of the educational program.
• The same incidents or events are interpreted in the completely different way as per the trainers’ involvement or affiliation to certain political party.
• Similarly, participants too perceive as per his or her affiliated political party’s perspective.
• Even HR organizations and HR leaders are not free from their ideological or political prejudice.
• Inherited conventional attitudes and behaviors have not been changed despite spelling out the non-political and non-partisan organizations and principles.
Overcoming the Challenges:
• The trainings should be prolonged and they should be residential.
• Follow up mechanism should be developed and develop the database to record the changed attitudes and behaviors.
• Steering Counseling body should be established for the regular advices and counseling
• Sensitizing promotional activities should be done and be given emphasis as a routine work.
• Moral Science Education should be either replaced by Human Rights Education or at least both of them should be merged by forming a new subject.
• Right based Conflict management skill should also be provided complementarily.
• The knower and practitioners (observable outwardly in all the spheres not just in the hypocrisy) should be given highly appreciation and due respect in the society.
Although, Nepal became one of the good front liner signatories in ratifying the Human Rights International Conventions and protocols soon after the restoration of the multi-party democratic system after three decades in 1990/91, the results shown up so far are not satisfactory one. The reason was none other than the poor performance from the Government of Nepal side in the fulfillment of commitments done while signing and then after. It created conducive environment for the civil war too within the country as a result. The cases of human rights violations heightened during that period from both the then governments and rebellion sides. Although, it was a case of ideological and partisan
Rivalry too, primarily, the then governments mostly ran by the oldest and leading Democratic Party was responsible in making the fire in the jungle of Peace and Democracy. The then governments were indifferent towards other parties left and right upon their raised genuine issues for the people and democracy consolidation itself. Contrarily, it began to relax and enjoy the privileges provided being the democratic party forgetting and ignoring the aspirations of the majority people and instead made it busied itself in blowing up the trumpets against the leftist and socialists’ principles.
But, although the human rights violation cases scaled high during the insurgency, interestingly, it raised the level of human rights awareness towards higher especially the rights pertaining to the indigenous people, ethnic rights, civil and political rights, labor rights for that Maoist party for making aware of their rights however it was a move against the government and likewise media should be given credit for sensitization making people aware informally however not balanced as they were supposed to be as per their journalistic ethics.
Lastly, it would be better to find the common ground for ice-breaking the biasness of all sorts prevalent present day society and sow the reap of human rights from the primary school level for the better and brighter future in terms of peaceful lives and worthy livings.