News

High Court Tulsipur, Nepalgunj issues an interim order- ordered to the concerned authorities to adopt concrete measures to prevent COVID-19, maintain minimum standards of quarantine and isolation facilities

Responding to the writ petition filed by a group of lawyers including AF, the High Court Tulsipur, Nepalgunj Bench on 24 May 2020, issued an interim order in the name of District Administration Office, Banke et al. to file the written response within 15 days of the order. The single bench of Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Kumar Kafle directed authorities at local levels of Banke and Bardiya to collect the verified data of labour force, helpless people residing in the respective area and to immediately publish the updated list in the website of the concerned authority.

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Situation of Women and Children in Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Banke districts during Covid-19 lockdown

Situation of Women and Children in Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Banke districts during Covid-19 lockdown

21 May 2020: Till 21 May 2020, there are 758 quarantine facilities with 26,336 bed capacity in Province 5  of Nepal. Altogether 17,059 people are currently housed in those facilities. However, despite the growing number of people entering to Nepal from India and suspects of corona infection increasing, the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) has been conducted in only 10,532 people. Below is a data  collected by Advocacy Forum-Nepal that gives picture of number of people housed in various quarantine facilities of Province 5.

 

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Human Rights Monitoring Committee monitors the prison in Banke, prisoners deprived of basic human rights

Human Rights Monitoring Committee monitors the prison in Banke, prisoners deprived of basic human rights

On 10 May 2020, the members of Human Rights Monitoring Committee, Banke (Advocate Basanta Gautam from Advocacy Forum-Nepal, Bikash Acharya, Chairperson of Nepalgunj High Court Bar Association, Suresh Kumar Gautam, Member of FIAN Nepal, Prahlad Karki from Human Rights Organization of Nepal and Biswajit Tiwari from Human Rights Investigation) visited the Banke Prison. The objective of the visit was to monitor the situation of detainees kept in District Prison, Banke amid fear of COVID-19 spread and to monitor whether the prisoners kept in the prison are provided access to the basic human rights and safety from COVID-19. Likewise, one of the objectives was to make aware to the authorities concerned about the human rights situation of prisoners in the prison. 

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AF together with human rights activists visited the Child Correction Home, Juveniles in need of immediate health support

AF together with human rights activists visited the Child Correction Home, Juveniles in need of immediate health support

On 10 May 2020, team members of Human Rights Monitoring Committee, Banke (Advocate Basanta Gautam from Advocacy Forum-Nepal, Bikash Acharya, Chairperson of Nepalgunj High Court Bar Association, Suresh Kumar Gautam, Member of FIAN Nepal, Prahlad Karki from Human Rights Organization of Nepal and Biswajit Tiwari from Human Rights Investigation) visited the Child Correction Home, Banke. The objective of the visit was to monitor the situation of Child Correction Home amid fear of COVID-19 spread and to monitor whether the juveniles kept in the Child Correction Home are provided access to the basic human rights and safety and security.

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Case Updates

Emblematic Cases

Among the hundreds of cases documented, Advocacy Forum has selected altogether 15 representative cases that show an endemic pattern of obstruction of justice, brazen abuse or total disregard of the law and deliberate attempts to escape accountability. The cases are also selected on the basis of their availability of evidence and wider public appeal. AF launches campaigns with other national and international organizations to establish accountability in those cases with a view to opening the door of justice to thousands of other similar cases.
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First Information Reports

First Information Report (FIR) is a formal complaint lodged with the police or District Administration Office by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf.  As per the existing legal system in Nepal, victims or their representatives do not have direct access to the courts. In criminal cases, police have exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and process evidence to the public prosecutors who then register the cases in court. However, the police authorities not only dillydally to register FIRs but also fail to carry out effective investigations. AF has been helping victims and their families to file FIRs and seeking mandamus orders for the effective investigations on the cases.
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Human Rights Committee Submissions

Advocacy Forum is the first organization in Nepal to use individual complaint mechanism under the First Optional Protocol of International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). According to the said protocol, individuals, whose countries are party to the ICCPR and the protocol, who claim their rights guaranteed by the ICCPR have been breached, and who have exhausted existing domestic legal remedies in the pursuit of justice, can submit written communications to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC). This particular effort of AF has opened the space of Nepali lawyers to international litigation.
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Torture Compensation Cases

Advocacy Forum legally intervenes on behalf of detainees who claimed to have been tortured by police and forest officers in government detention facilities. Upon consent by victims, AF attorneys register suits, and represent victims in court seeking for torture compensation under the Torture Compensation Act -1996 and necessary action against the perpetrators.
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Initiatives

Case Communication

Advocacy Forum reports urgent cases of human rights violations to UN-OHCHR, AHRC and to some specific organizations such as Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission, OMCT, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, diplomatic communities, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution and the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. These international organizations/bodies give due importance to our communications and have been regularly issuing urgent appeals to pressure the concerned authorities and the government. AF also regularly reports cases to Human Rights Cell of Nepal Police, Office of Attorney General and National Human Rights Commission requesting investigation and necessary action against the perpetrators and timely redress to victims.

Setting the Precedents

Important judicial rulings by courts in the cases represented by AF on behalf of victims have been instrumental in establishing case law in Nepal. The efforts of AF have been immensely important in setting standards vis-à-vis the cases of human rights violations and ensuring fair trial standards in Nepal and thereby creating a solid body of jurisprudence.  AF also files Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking various directive orders for the implementation of existing legal provisions and challenging those provisions that expressly contradict with the accepted international standards.






Capacity Building Measures

AF has developed a comprehensive framework to strengthen capacities of its staffers, stakeholders, institutions, communities and target groups for the effective realization of its vision, mission and goals. The framework is set at the systemic, institutional and individual levels.  Key areas that require capacity building are identified as per the needs of relevant stakeholders or when AF feels necessary during the implementation of its various activities. AF is also committed to increasing its functionality by supplementing the expertise of staff wherever possible, both by educational workshops and by exposure to the international human rights community.

Advocacy and Lobbying

Advocacy Forum works to influence the Nepali government's policies and laws by holding regular lobby meetings with lawmakers, officials from ministries concerned, members of the civil society and other relevant stakeholders. Via various activities, campaigns and submissions, it also tries to lobby both national and international bodies to ensure human rights are upheld. It has also been continuously seeking to establish strong lines of communication and effective working partnerships with the international and domestic human rights community. AF recognizes the necessity of international co-operation in overturning the culture of impunity that sustains a climate conducive to human rights abuse in Nepal.