Kathmandu School Of Law (KSL)
in co-operation with Center for Legal Research and Resource Development (CeLRRd)

Kathmandu School of Law announces admission open in LL.B program for the academic session 2006. Students who have passed 10 +2 or equivalent are eligible to apply for the program. Last date for the submission of the application form is 12th August 2006. For details, please visit http://www.ksl.edu.np/program_llb.asp

News

       

Indigenous Community for Inclusive Constitution

Following two days of intensive discussions, the national workshop on "Form of Interim Constitution and new structure of the state in Constituent Assembly"  organized by Tharu lawyers and students concluded with an 11-point Kathmandu declaration.

The declaration has demanded the government declare 24 Terai districts where indigenous Tharu people are living in majority as Tharuhat or Tharuwan Autonomy.  "As the present structure of the state cannot solve the impending problems, a federal system should be established with proportionate representation of all ethnic people where there would be no place for the monarch," the declaration stated.

It also said that indigenous community should be properly represented in all government and non-government bodies, including the army, police, legal bodies, foundations, industries, political sector, constitutional bodies and diplomatic missions.

According to the president of the Tharu Student's Society, the meeting also demanded a special provision for the Kamaiyas and the Kamalaharis. It demanded that the two communities' basic needs be guaranteed. Other demands include the land ownership, identification of the conflict-hit Tharu people and compensation for them, besides guaranteeing their health, education, security and other basic needs.

Inaugurating the workshop, Speaker Subash Nemwang said that the new Constitution to be drafted through the Constituent Assembly should be inclusive and it should address the problem of the participation of all the indigenous communities and nationalities in the governance system.

Minister for Land Reforms and Management Prabhu Narayan Chaudhary said that citizens are not only privileged but also exclusively authorized to determine the destiny of their society. Hence, the Constituent Assembly has the right to decide whether or not to keep the monarchy.

Leader of the CPN-Maoist and member of the Maoist Talks Team, Dev Gurung said the development of the indigenous communities would not be possible unless they are given the right of self-determination.

Putting his comments on the paper, Assoc. Prof. Yubaraj Sangroula stated that the issue of constituency is a primary one to ensure the legitimacy of the constituent assembly. The Constituent Assembly election should be able to maintain equilibrium of representation geographically, ethnically, racially, linguistically, and professionally. All these sectors must also include the proportional representation of women.

He shared that the constituent assembly is the most progressive constitution making process as it, by interaction of population, can identify and lay down the fundamental values to be safeguarded. He proposed National Unity and Diversity, Pluralism, Democracy, Good Governance and the Rule of Law, People’s Participation in Government, Guarantee and Protection of Basic Needs of People and Protection of Human Rights as the fundamental values which need to be safeguarded in the context of Nepal.

"To make the constitution inclusive, it should ensure a system of accommodating the diversity, including socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, age, occupation and persons with disabilities in political process and government. Respect to ethnic and regional diversity as a core value of the Nepali nation, and rights of the ethnic and marginalized communities to organize and participate in cultural and linguistic activities, and freedom to express their identities should be guaranteed," he added.

The interactive workshop was jointly organized by the Tharu Students' Society and the Indigenous Tharu Legal Practitioners Society.

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Supreme Court Bar Panel elected

Advocate Prakash Raut has been elected the president of Supreme Court Bar Association on the Supreme Court Bar election held on 7 July, 2006. Rabiraj Bhandary has been elected the vice-president, Shiva Prasad Rijal Secretary and Anita Chapagain treasurer. Members of the panel include Aruna Chitrakar, Bishnu Luitel, Laxmi Prasad Adhikary, Megh Raj Pokhrel, Nara Prasad Thapa, Nilam Poudel, Ramesh Prasad Guragain, Shree Kanta Baral and Tara Bahadur Sitaula.

Two panels led by Advocate Prakash Raut and Advocate Sitaram Adhikary had filed their candidatures in the election. The personnel elected are from both the panels.

Prior to the election, the panel led by Mr. Raut had visited KSL on 4th July in course of their election campaign. During the visit, KSL faculties and students raised numerous issues on legal education, role of Bar to promote legal education, and cooperation between Bar Units and academic institutions in strengthening the justice system.

At the programme, Mr. Sangroula shared that imparting legal education, development of legal professionalism and delivery of legal service to the community are inseparably entwined. The quality of each of them affects the other necessarily. KSL has come forward focusing on 'departure from traditional paradigm' and approaching for community responsiveness in the legal education. These approaches have ensured both the induction of marginalized community into the legal profession and exposure of students to the larger community interest of justice.

He added that Bar Association can provide opportunities to students to enhance their practical knowledge on lawyering skills and values, professional zeal and accountability they have to face in their profession. But lawyers are more inclined to political opportunity than upgrading the legal professionalism. That is why ethical standards of legal professionals are often seriously questioned by the civil society. Instead of taking concern to update legal education and involvement of youth potentials so that contextual professionalism could be developed, Bar Units are more concerned with interests of lawyers. It is entrenched fact that Bar Association and other stakeholders have largely failed to view the instrumentality of the legal education to ensure 'access to justice'.

He also assured that votes from KSL will not be based on a mere political ideology; it will be based on individual performance, efficiency and commitment to support meaningful scheme of legal education in the country.

Presidential candidates Advocate Prakash Raut shed light on the importance of the academically sound law school and professionally sound Bar Association. He expressed his commitment for ensuring Rule of Law, Human Rights and Judicial activism and efforts for changing stereo-typed attitude of law professional towards legal education. He also answered the various questions raised by the KSL students including Suraj Basnet, Ujwal Ram Shrestha, Pabitra Nepali, Madan Pant, Laxmi Sapkota and Sadhana Ghimire. 

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Right based Anti Trafficking Awareness Campaign

CeLRRd has extended its activities in the area of anti trafficking by creating right based awareness campaign in different program districts targeting different community groups.

Sensitization kits have been developed to aware the mass at community level about human trafficking actions as violation of human rights. Advocacy programs such as orientation, rally, and demonstration were conducted to sensitize people about concept and meaning of human rights and its basic international instruments; law against human trafficking; protection of rights of trafficking survivors; role of community in prevention of trafficking as such.

Started from the month of June 06, advocacy programs have benefited a total of 764 community people including women paralegal group, NGO & CBO members, and transport workers of different districts. Following table depicts number of activities and number benefited from the program till July 15, 06.

Right Based Anti Trafficking Orientation for Women Paralegal Group

District

VDC

Total No. of Participants

Program Date

1. Sindhupalchowk

Haibung

75

2063/03/02

2. Makwanpur

Bhaise

40

2063/03/06

Namtar

41

2063/03/07

3. Nawalparashi

Gaindakot

35

2063/03/08

Sunwal

43

2063/03/12

4. Udayapur

*

 

 

5. Bardiya

Kalika

30

2063/03/13

 

Gulariya

28

2063/03/12

6. Chitwan

Mangalpur

43

2063/03/14

7. Banke

Bageshori

30

2063/03/08

Kohalpur

29

2063/03/09

8. Jhapa

**

 

 

9.  Morang

Tetariya

40

2063/03/14

Katahari

34

2063/03/16

Total number of activities 15

 

Right Based Anti Trafficking Orientation for Local NGO & CBO members

District

VDC

Total No. of Participants

Program Date

1. Udayapur

Gaighat

30

2063/3/9

2. Sindupalchok

Mahankal

47

2063/03/10

3. Makwanpur

Bhaise

40

2063/03/08

Total number of program: 3

 

Right Based Anti Trafficking Rally and Demonstration

District

VDC

Total No. of Participants

Program Date

Saptari

Mahuli Bazar

40

2063/3/10

Jhapa

Dharampur

39

2063/02/19

Lakhanpur

56

2063/03/10

Shivajung

44

2063/02/20

Total number of program: 4

*   One program at the district. Report from the district is yet to receive.

** Two programs at the district. Report from the district is yet to receive.

The programs were successful in encouraging wider population of the district to learn about trafficking actions as severe form of slavery and violation of human rights and their roles in prevention of human trafficking.

The program was supported by Terre des hommes Nepal under the project Developing Right Based Approach for Anti Trafficking Actions in South Asia funded by European Union.

Women Paralegal Groups at the Orientation at Sindhupalchowk District

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KSL on Constituent Assembly Discussion

Assoc. Prof. Yubaraj Sangroula was engaged in a number of public discussions for facilitating materialization of election of the Constituent Assembly organized by various organizations in 1st and 2nd week of July across the country. He presented his concept paper entitled "Restructuring of the State and the concept of Federal State System" on a programme organized by Nepal Tarun Dal, youth organization of Nepali Congress (Democratic) on 13th July, 2006. Similarly, Mr. Sangroula presented his concept paper entitled "Constituent Assembly: Issues and Modality" organized by Lumbini-Kathmandu Zonal Liaison Forum of CPN (UML) on 15th of July, 2006.

 

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Feature Article

 

 

 

 

Mahabharata range – victim of immoral actions

On my flight to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu on March 24th 2006, I saw from air a sight very alarming but yet concealed in the womb of present political crisis – a massive desertification of whole Mahabharata range. Undisputedly this issue of desertification will be a major concern, politically, socially and economically once the present political conflict ends. This is already a potential ‘bomb’ waiting to explode within next decade if state and all the likeminded people and organizations do not take appropriate actions and devise policies. It’s an explicit message for the people living in Mahabharata range that present environmental and human problems cannot be understood or addressed in isolation from each other. By looking at the trend of immoral actions occurring in Mahabharata range's fragile ecosystem the earlier message seems to have been largely ignored as the statistics of deforestation are shocking. The problem of desertification in Mahabharata range has multifaceted effects on food security, health, climatic condition, hydrology, freedom of choices and many minor ecological functioning on both the Mahabharata range and the lower plains of south.

Mahabharata range embraces exceptional biodiversity and the benefits brought about by the ecosystems are manifold. To synchronize the benefit we have to establish linkages among biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being, mainly through supporting services and expressing freedom and choices. The continuing loss of biodiversity in Mahabharata means losing nature’s services that are essential for humanity. As an environmentalist my mind floated to find out what seeded the problem. The 1990 relatively open democratic era no doubt paved way for sound policies in forest management. As such many progressive policies in Natural Resource Conservation were drafted or rejuvenated and were put into action. Increasing populations of leopard in the mid hills and some areas of Mahabharata notably indicated the success of community forest programs.

Following the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and Earth Summit in 1992, Nepal developed a substantial body of environmental law and regulations under the then Ministry of Population and Environment dealing with the protection of the environment and the management of natural resources. In last few decade people of Nepal have been sensitized on the need for resource conservation and management. Hence the lack of sensitization is not a problem since we often hear widespread public concern over pollution led to legislation to curb emissions of effluents and airborne pollutants, similarly concerns over the depletion of natural resources led to legislation for resource conservation and the preservation of areas of special biological value. The problem is all these legislation were more comprehensive than sectoral-based, consequently institutions of environmental governance and protection were not strengthened. The development activities should have been based on the needs and demands of the people, which state ignored on the account of indictment of illiteracy rate of people of Mahabharata. This action of state since 1950's have visibly created a distinct demarcation between the people and the state, the state recognized these people as not a partner for conservation but as a destructor of natural resources. They have been marginalized from all arenas of political, social and economic rights without recognizing their stewardship which is closely linked to the sustainability of life in lowland areas. The short sight ness of state has encouraged migration of many mountain young and productive people in search of supplementary incomes or better opportunities in low land. The village is left only with children, women and elderly people. Women no doubt can play significant, or even dominant, in the sphere of production as they are the pivotal of family unit bearing a major responsibility for agriculture, forest, and other natural resource management as well as for their family's well-being provided they manage some time from the household chores. Without men the women must assume greater proportion of management of resources which is almost impossible. The absence of male figure is often taken advantage by the unscrupulous players who flood to take advantage of the resources of the range largely by cutting the forest, thus intensifying desertification. Nepal has excellent customary laws regarding the sustainable use of resources. Along with the migration many traditional values (customary laws) are eroded and hence replaced by the alien values which are definitely not congenial for the protection of resources.

Added the process of desertification the problem has been further triggered by the government’s decision to provide financial incentive to each VDC to enhance the livelihood of people promoted many to dig roads throughout Mahabharata range without considering the ecological backlash. The delicate ecological balance in the young and unstable range had been upset, increasing the extent of erosion and the number of landsides. Many people realized latter that they are fighting a loosing battle against the ecological destruction. In addition to competing for these products men and commercial interests, unite together to fulfill their fruitless wish. The situation has been made worse by the ever increasing pressure of population on limited land resources, which has resulted in the increasing deforestation and consequently an excellent way out for desertification.

 Other being through out Nepal the prime examples of ineffective policies in Nepal are the nationalization of private forests in 1957, and the Forest Act of 1961, which created a perverse incentive structure leading to the steady degradation of forests. Private land was not surveyed when forests were nationalized, which further contributed towards ecological destruction. Nationalization of forests in 1957 and subsequent survey and registration of private land in 1960 provided further inducement to convert forests into agriculture land. Detailed cadastral surveys of Nepal started only in 1960, with the formulation of the Land Act. The Forest Act of 1961 allowed HMG foresters to issue permits to harvest trees for subsistence needs only. It’s an established phenomenon, when people the guarders of the forest have been excluded from the long practiced sustainable use of forest then the idea of conservation severely fails. The policing and other controlling tasks of the forest staff in terms of law enforcement aggravated the deforestation in Mahabharata range.

Now the question is what measures ought to be adopted to answer the problem at initial stage? The state should hear opinions and suggestions of local mountain people (Mahabharata) who have the sophisticated knowledge to manage a multiplicity of roles and small production systems to adapt and survive in a fragile environment. The state and other institutions should promote return of men to their own villages and revive the indigenous laws that preserves and uses the forest products. Nepal Government should take action to reconcile trade and environmental interests, through the development of trade-environment related policies aimed at fostering the local eco-friendly products through out the range. Lastly a greater role can be played by the amendment to the criminal law and recognizing and strengthening as a mandatory aspect of environmental protection.

(Writer is a Resource Officer in the Kathmandu School of Law)

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