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

 

News

       

Kathmandu School of Law Bagged Award in Regional Moot Court Competition.

Kathmandu School of Law (KSL) won the Best Memorial Award in the Second Henry Dunant Memorial Regional Moot Court Competition for South Asia held at New Delhi from 27th to 29th October 2006. KSL represented by LL.B students Apurba Khatiwada, Sushila Karki, Praladh Bhattarai along with Associate Professor Mrs. Geeta Pathak Sangroula (Coach) was awarded gold medal for the Best Memorial it submitted in the Competition, organized jointly by Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC). <ToP>

KSL students participated for the second time in the competition held each year with the objective of disseminating knowledge and awareness regarding International Humanitarian Law in South Asia. Indeed with the participation of Iran this year the very scope of the competition was beyond South Asia. And through its participation KSL Students gained valuable experience of mooting on such challenging and pertinent issue of current national and international concerns. Basically students mooted in the intellectually demanding mock trial of International Criminal Court, for the prosecution of as well as for the defense against the indictment relating to the Genocide and War Crimes.

During the Moot Court Competition KSL faced Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran and India and pleaded well before the judges and won great regards and acknowledgment from the judges and the organizers. Besides mooting, Moot Court competition also proved a crucial platform for the interaction among law students from different parts of Asia viz. Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. And even though KSL missed the winner's trophy by very slight margin it won the recognition for its hard work and dedication in the form of Best Memorial Award.

Report: Apurba Khatiwada

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Activity Synopsis: Peace Building through Promoting Value-based Discussion on Democracy, Constitutionalism and Peace

Kathmandu School of Law (KSL) implemented the project entitled "Peace Building through Promoting Value-based Discussion on Democracy, Constitutionalism and Peace" in financial assistance of Embassy of Denmark, Kathmandu in the year 2005-06.

The project was concentrated to help address the ongoing conflict through strengthening and promoting the value based non-violent democratic practices and constitutional measures. Primary objective of the project was to motivate public at large by sensitization of political actors, youth leaders, students and media workers toward non-violent democratic movement and to help transformation of the conflict by creating broader pressure to the Maoist insurgents to come into non-violent democratic process.

Within this program, 30 orientations for college and high school students, 12 orientations for journalists and media persons, 14 constitutional debates with political party leaders and cadres and 14 activation programmes for youth leaders were carried out throughout the country. Broader mass sensitization through television programme and FM radio programme were also performed for setting up of a favorable climate for advocacy on democracy and constitutionalism as well as activation of people through non-violent democratic movements.

A total of twenty-seven hundred and ninety three (27093) people have been directly benefited from the project activities. Under the program activity entitled "Orientation to Journalists", 209 journalists and media workers have had opportunity to obtain the knowledge of human rights, the role of media in conflict transformation and pro-peace reporting as responsive fourth estate.

Under the Debate on Constitutionalism, 430 concerned stakeholders got the opportunity to take part on the debates. Similarly, twelve television programmes under Anuttarit Prashna and twelve radio programmes were aired in different themes to contribute for public opinion building and encouraging public discourse on the constitutional issues to address the problem of political stagnation and support for conflict transformation. A book entitled “Peace Building through promoting value-based discussion on Democracy, Constitutionalism and Peace” has been published which includes details of activities and resource materials. <ToP>

Altogether 434 youths from three zones were benefited under Motivation and Activation of Youth Leaders programme. The impact of their participation in the programme can be assessed by their involvement in initiating debate of succession of leaderships in respective youth and student organizations. Similarly, twelve television programmes under Anuttarit Prashna and twelve radio programmes were aired in different themes under this programme to activate youths into social affairs and make them responsive to the public interests. A book entitled “Youths for Peace and Democracy” has been published under this theme which includes details of activities of Motivation and Activation of Youth Leaders programme and Student Mobilization Programme.

With a view to create awareness and sensitize students towards current crisis of conflict and declining situation of human rights and good governance, students from different schools and colleges of Kathmandu Valley were mobilized under Mobilization of School and University Students programme. Altogether 1557 students from various academic institutions have been benefited from the programme.

A booklet entitled "Shantisthapana Ra Dwandarupantaranka Lagi Naagarik Sashaktataa: Sabaile Jannuparne-Mannuparne Pramukh Sawaal" (Activated Citizens for Peace-building and Conflict Transformation: Issues to be Understood and Accepted by All) was produced, published and brought into circulation to facilitate project activities and highlight project objectives.

In addition, National Symposium on Constituent Assembly and Inclusive Democracy for Conflict Transformation was held as one of the components of the project. The Symposium provided platform to bring intellectual ideas into public discussion for facilitating materialization of election of the Constituent Assembly ensuring inclusion of disenfranchised sets of Nepali society for Conflict Transformation. A compendium of symposium proceedings and papers has been published entitled “Constituent Assembly and Inclusive Democracy for Conflict Transformation”.

The project activities have created effective impact on the political atmosphere in Nepal. The issues raised in the various activities within project period became issues of public debate at large and become able to penetrate the non-violent political forces to come forward for peaceful movement. Similarly, the issues like inclusion of diversified population for socio-political justice, supremacy of the people in taking decision by public electoral process were recognized even by the Maoist rebel. These activities became catalytic for bringing issues as well as motivating people for peaceful mass movements for reinstallation of peoples' power overtaken by the King in 1st February, 2005. <ToP>

One of the key impacts the project activities has created among general people is that it brought some of the major agenda to be discussed and clarified for addressing the armed conflict that has been intensified in Nepali contextual social setting. The issue of recognition of socio-economic rights as to be fundamental and judiciously remediable, modality of inclusive democracy, inevitability rule of law and human rights for transforming conflicts were the major issues that came to a broader public discourse as a result of implementation of the project.

Under the project activities, a critical analysis of the performance of the democracy over the last 15 years was carried out, and intensely discussed. The conflict was seen in the light of the performance of the democracy, and attempt was made to relate the need of 'transformation of the conflict' for sustainability of democracy and vice versa. In all sessions of discourse, the following issues gained major focus from participants:

1.      Failure of the political party leadership in providing social and economic justice to the people. The issue that only a smaller portion of the population (elite class) has been benefiting from the national income was raised by participants as one of the vital cause for emergence of the conflict. Obviously, the transformation of the conflict was impossible without prompt action to equitable distribution of the economy.

2.      Failure of the political parties to give space to meritorious and youth leadership in decision making process was another issue raised. This issue was related with the failure of the intra-party democracy.

3.      Failure of the political parties to develop consensus on priorities of prompt intervention was another prominent issue of discussion. Political parties' failure to address the issue about gender equality, social and economical isolation of the dalit and minority population was in the forefront of the discussion.

4.      Lacking of devolution of power to the local bodies and corruption was another issue that was taken as responsible factor for intensification of the conflict.<ToP>

However, participants strongly believed that the transformation of the conflict is fully impossible without promotion of democracy and constitutionalism. As it was outlined during the discourse, the 1990 movement reinstated the liberal democracy and ensured the political rights, yet it failed to address the economic and social democracy. The democratic system set by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990 was thus limited. It did not give space to socially and economically marginalized population, and thus could not become "Inclusive" in nature. The population at large could not 'own the democracy', as it was still discriminatory.

The discussion or discourse therefore highlighted on the need of the following interventions to reform the system so that it can be "inclusive" and as such can provide an effective way out for 'transformation of the prevailing conflict".

1.         Inclusion of components of consensus democracy, meritocracy, proportional electoral system and devolution of power in the framework of the existing liberal democracy. The discourse suggested restructuring the state by appropriate amendment of the constitution.

2.         Inclusion of large massive disenfranchised population in the political process.

3.         Promotion of intra-party democracy in order to give space in political decision making process for disenfranchised population.

4.         Equitable distribution of national resource by eliminating the existing scenario where 14% of the population consumes 80% of the gross national income.

Obviously, the discourse emphasized the stronger advocacy for the inclusive democracy. Through the discourse, the program was successful in influencing the political parties, youth organizations, media workers as well as the civil society. The following developments prove the massive impact of the program: <ToP>

1)         CPN (ML), CPN (UML) and Nepali Congress discussed in their meetings about the need of adopting the agenda of "Inclusive Democracy" as goal for future. This influence was generated by their central committee members and youth leaders who participated in the discourse. Following some programs, there has been number of requests from these parties to 'organize more such programs for their cadres and leaders". The program thus takes privilege to claim that 'it had been able to spark discussion on "Inclusive Democracy" as a right way out to the transformation of the conflict. The contribution of the TV program to raise the issue couldn't be undermined.

2)         A fashion of condemning the functionality of 'democracy' over the last some years was common. Many people in the wake of king's takeover of the government condemned democracy for the intensifying conflict and increased corruption. This program was largely effective to 'educate the young generation' about the importance of 'democracy' and separate the political failure from the significance of democracy. The program has initiated a discourse among youths and adolescents on need of fostering democracy and constitutionalism.

3)         This programme was implemented at a time when country was plunged into 'emergency'. However, KSL, taking a great risk of suppression, implemented programme carefully, and kept the discussion on democracy alive even in the time of hardship. Obviously, the programme gave impetus to leaders and civil society to think about democracy, and its protection. This programme thus substantially contributed to 'intellectually boost up the capacity of the political parties and emerging civil society', which emerged as a force to defend the democracy against autocracy.

4)         The project has immensely changed the ‘outlook of youth population towards politics’, which is so instrumental in present context. The project has developed a ‘scientific approach’ to analyze political issues. In this context, the project was successful in considerable degree to penetrate new thinking and change in their attitudes.

5)         The programme generated deepening awareness of media workers on the need of 'building peace through transformation of the conflict', and sensitized them to be socially responsive to the issues and present more peace friendly coverage, news and stories and contribute to promote peace and national interest. It also made them more conscious to defend democracy, humanitarian obligations and human rights.  The visible impact of the programme is that those who participated are found to be conflict conscious in their reporting. Their reporting are found to be fact-based and directed towards peace building.

6)         By the academic impetus of the programmes the inclusive democracy, joint effort necessitated for reinstallation of democracy, consideration of socio-economic perspectives of the society and need of the people were discussed and an integrated effort for arranging intermediately strategy to cope with the conflict transformation was realized by the pro-democratic actors of the society. As a result a joint movement for rule of people was promoted and came to a concrete shape.

KSL as a neutral and academic institution took initiative to launch the programs, therefore, there was no direct attack against the programmes and activities were successfully accomplished. It showed that there is need of involvement of non-partisan institutional efforts to bring issues in the light and forward to social discourse for bringing positive changes.

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Feature Article

 

 

 

 

Reservation for Women: Good or Bad?

Women constitute the majority of the world’s population and as equally important to run the Nation. However, there is no doubt that they are discriminated by superstitious patriarchal society and also the discriminatory laws. The discrimination and inequality towards them is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men & women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women.  It is unfortunate that even in the 21st century and despite the constitutional provision that men and women are considered equal by the laws; women are considered as domestic workers and mere reproductive tools.

 The human rights of women are an inalienable and indivisible part of universal human rights which has rightly been observed by World Conference on Human Rights. The full and equal participation of women in political, civil and economic, social and cultural life at the national, regional & international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex are priority objectives of the international community. However, women are divested of their basic right by society and the economy, and many times, regrettably, by their own mentality, they fall victim to all forms of violence. Thus securing and ensuring the rights and interests of women is the need of the day.

In this regard, the passage of the women’s rights declaration of 30 May 06 by the HoR is definitely a welcoming step and landmark development in context of Nepal. If Human Rights are to be universally respected and protected, then they must apply to the lives of over half the human race-women.

  1. Basically four Major Declarations have been made by the House of Representatives:

  2. Proposal on women’s right to confer citizenship to their children.

  3. Reservation of 33% of seats in all states bodies for women until proportional participation is attained.

  4. Freedom from domestic violence.

  5. End of Discriminatory Laws on women. <ToP>

Regarding the issue of reservation, definitely it is needed in our context till the time women become equally competent to compete with the male members of the Society. John Rawl in his ‘Theory of Justice’ has rightly emphasized firstly on the protection of the individual liberties, and secondly to give priority to the deprived group till they become competent enough to compete.  The idea of equal access to opportunity to all comes only after acquiring the above. Thus in our context, sad to say women being more vulnerable, discriminated and deprived of having access on the nation’s utilities reservation is needed up to a certain height for their upliftment. Because of the deeply entrenched patriarchy, society still is not in the position to accept women as equal partner. Hence, women should get the same sorts of opportunity and access in all spheres of Nation’s Utilities. Substantive equality is the need of the day not the formal model of equality as provided by our Constitution.

Also, reservation won’t work effectively until it is further reserved for different classes of women such as Dalits, Vulnerable, and Disabled etc. To meet the goal of this reservation to the fullest extent upto the grass-root level, it needs to be separated in quantity to all class of women and the beginning should be made from the ground level. Otherwise it would be a luxury to the urban women who are well educated and are on easy access to resources.

To uplift the status of women, discriminatory laws on women needs to be wiped out. There are till to date 28 gender discriminatory provisions in the Civil Code (11th amendment). Similarly 20 existing Acts have 53 discriminatory provisions while 35 existing Rules have 85 discriminatory provisions. Thus, these need to be made non-discriminatory. Finally, it is important to reassess the stereotype that women are necessarily “vulnerable” and “victims”. Their roles and potentiality must be recognized. They can be politicians, community leaders, partners in assistance operations in their communities, and activists for reconstruction, reconciliation and peace.  

Author is LL.M Student of Kathmandu School of Law

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Kathmandu School of Law          / Telephone : 977-01-634455/6634663, 2042268
Dadhikot, Bhaktapur                   /   Fax           : 977-01-634801
Kathmandu, Nepal                     /   E-mail       : info@ksl.edu.np        Web   :  www.ksl.edu.np