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Stakeholders stress on making govt aware on UPR commitment

2023 Aug 11, 19:39,
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Human rights defenders and freedom of expression campaigners have said the government should be made aware on its responses relating to the universal periodic review (UPR) third cycle.

During a discussion organized jointly by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Freedom Forum here Friday, they spoke on the need of overseeing how government preparers mid-term report on UPR 3rd cycle and whether the recommendations government supported have been realized in practice.

Acting Chairperson of NHRC, Surya Dhungel, viewed NHRC was always ready to cooperate and collaborate with civil society to protect and promote human rights in the country. Shirking responsibilities by the government on human rights obligation is not good, so lawmakers and parliamentarians must be made further accountable. Focused discussions are needed on multifarious issues relating to UPR, according to Dhungel.

Similarly, General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association, Anjita Khanal, viewed Nepal Bar Association is always ready for protecting and promoting human rights. She urged the stakeholders to make integrated efforts on advocating and realizing human rights.

FNJ President Bipul Pokhrel said protection and promotion of freedom of expression is essential also for achieving SDGs. UPR is a significant platform to whet debate on human rights including FoE (freedom of expression) and FoA (freedom of assembly and association), he added.

Freedom Forum Chairman Hari Binod Adhikari appreciated the NHRC initiative for collaboration with FF on fostering debate on such important issues of UPR. FoE is a base of other freedoms, he argued.

Moreover, Freedom Forum Executive Chief Taranath Dahal reminded the process of UPR and believed that constructive discussion on different issues of human rights and UPR would help create atmosphere favourable for exercise of human rights including FoE and FoA. It also gives reference to mid-term review of UPR third cycle. UPR is such an effective global platform that facilitates discussion on human rights issues and makes governments accountable to these fronts.

Columnist Namrata Sharma warned that if all sides concerned do not raise voice on any issue of public concern on time, the State could suppress it gradually. Critical thoughts and public opinions are essential to healthy democracy, she insisted, urging all to stay aware in this regard.

Media Action Nepal's Chairman Laxman Datt Pant suggested that suppression of FoE online is a serious issue.

NHRC Secretary Murari Kharel made extensive presentations on the UPR process, recommendations to the Nepal government in all three cycles and Nepal's responses so far. It is an important moment to discuss on UPR in the wake of its mid-term, he underscored.

Similarly, Freedom Forum made a presentation on its UPR submissions being focused on the themes- Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Association and Assembly- in all third cycles. The recommendations made by various countries to the Nepal government on these themes were highlighted in the presentation.



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