The role of national human rights institutions in ending impunity for human rights abuses during conflict: the case of Nepal

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Bhandari, Shiva Datta
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Building on a case study of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Nepal, the thesis shows that the NHRC, in particular, and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), in general, play a very important role in ending impunity for conflict-related human rights abuses. NHRIs have a particular role to play as they contribute to establishing accountability and securing victims’ rights while supporting truth and reconciliation processes. NHRIs complete these processes through their monitoring and follow-up of key recommendations by Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs). Therefore NHRIs and TRCs complement each other: NHRIs contribute to the success of TRCs and TRCs’ success contributes to NHRIs’ central objective of promoting a human rights culture. The thesis argues that ending impunity is primarily a state responsibility. According to their mandate, NHRIs have a major role to play as the national custodian of human rights. However, the examination of the role of the NHRC in Nepal shows that the effectiveness of that particular NHRI is linked to the interpretation and clarity of its mandate, its internal capacity and the response of other actors. While many NHRIs have already played a key role in transitional justice processes, this study shows that a stronger principle basis needs to be developed to support the NHRIs’ role as a key to the transitional process.
Second semester University: University of Southern Denmark, Danish Institute for Human Rights.
conflict, Nepal, human rights, human rights violations, impunity, national politics, national human rights institutions