Kathmandu School Of Law (KSL)
in co-operation with Center for Legal Research and Resource Development (CeLRRd)
E-Bulletin (Vol 48)
 

Free Legal Aid to Indian and Nepali Nationals

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Legal Aid Services-West Bengal (LASWEB), India and Kathmandu School of Law (KSL), Nepal to provide free legal aid to Nepali citizens needing such aid anywhere within the territory of India by LASWEB and to citizens of India needing such legal aid anywhere within the territory of Nepal by KSL. The MoU was signed on 28th December 2005 by Justice D.K Basu representing LASWEB and Assoc. Prof. Geeta Pathak Sangroula on behalf of Kathmandu School of Law.

The MoU offers aid for citizens of India needing legal aid in criminal cases in Nepal who are unable to secure it for want of money. Similar legal aid will be provided to the Nepalese in similar circumstances by LASWEB in India. KSL and LASWEB are entitled to decide eligibility and other necessary arrangements for providing the aid to the needy.

The agreement was signed at the end of the conference on 'Cross Border Migration and Protection of Human Rights among the Neighbors in South Asia' held from 26th to 28th December 2005 in Bangladesh. The conference was organized by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Service Trust (BLAST). The conference dealt with diversified issues of cross border movement and human rights with country presentation by representative of the respective South Asian Countries.

Assoc. Prof. Geeta Pathak Sangroula, on behalf of KSL, presented a paper on "Access to Justice to All: Scenario of Criminal Justice and Legal Aid in Nepal" from human rights perspective. The major focus of her presentation included; concept of legal aid as human rights for all, protection of migrants: objective analysis, commitment of Nepal towards human rights standards, legal measures for the protection of migrants, scenario of progress of prisoners legal aid program being conducted by KSL in cooperation with CeLRRd, DIHR and DANIDA.

According to her, 6000 cases (since 1998-2005) represented by CeLRRd/KSL, which also include about 200 cases of foreign nationals; formation of legal aid network in the country as institutionalizing the legal aid; and MoUs with BLAST and LASWEB are important indicators to illustrate the scenario of prisoners legal aid program as a viable and most useful program in the country and South Asian regions at large. 

KSL and BLAST also entered into the MoU on 19/04/2005 recognizing the need of expanding the legal aid service within South Asian Region and promotion of human rights in their respective countries.  

(PS: Recipients of this e-bulletin are requested to refer similar cases of your notice to Prisoners Legal Aid Clinic at Kathmandu School of Law)


Participants in Group Exercise/ Participants and Resource Persons in a Team

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Successful accomplishment of TOT on Mediation

A ten days ToT on Mediation successfully concluded on 8th January 2006 after thorough discussions on various aspects of community mediation. The program was conducted after completing district level programs in individual district such as an orientation program, selection of probable mediation trainers etc. A total of nine trainees and 2 resource persons participated in the program. Mr. Nayan Bd. Khadka, and Sudarshan K.C facilitated the program as resource persons. The program was conducted by CeLRRd in financial support of Danida.

The program was inaugurated by Mr. Kishor Silwal, Director of CeLRRd. He highlighted the goal of the institution and objective of the program. Mr. Sudeep Gautam, Program Coordinator and Mr. Rammani Gautam, Treasurer made a brief on the content, objectives, and process of the community mediation. They both focused on mediation process as a benevolence rather than obstinacy of parties. The program extensively discussed and exercised various aspects of community mediation through interaction, group exercise, and role play. It basically highlights the sensitive topics of mediation, which mediator always has to internalize: concept/objective of mediation; nature of conflict, causes of conflict, stages and role of peace builders, peace building exercise, conflict transformation, conflict resolution strategy, mechanism for conflict resolution, negotiation skill, position and interest based approach, communication process in mediation, model role play, orientation on mediation program, code of mediators, and facilitation skills etc.

Importantly, the program highlighted strategies to be adopted by mediators for conflict management, which included avoiding competition, integrating other's ideas, pulling back and leaving space for other's ideas to flow and develop consensus.  

In course of the program, Apple Exercise explored the core idea of mediation: mediation should always be "community based"; interest of community should always get priority than the individual's interests and benefits. It further dealt with three characteristics of good mediator:

i.   act as invigilator/ inspector and always control their temperament; (quality of leadership)

ii.  has to be kind

iii. free from prejudice (free from disputable image)

It further discussed about four phases of mediation viz. introduction/ initiatory work; to make each party brief his/her problem; make each party understand each other; to let them seek alternative and solution of their conflict by themselves.

Similarly, code of conduct of mediators was discussed in the program which basically highlights that mediator should play role of neutral facilitator not being a partisan of any political parties to effectively resolve conflict. The program further discussed about adult learning and fundamental principles of effective experience based teaching such as identifying need of teaching, things to be followed prior to teaching, during teaching and after teaching etc.

The program concluded with remarks from Director of CeLRRd and commitment from representatives of the participants to internalize and implement the learning in course of mediation. 

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Media to play agenda-setting role

Participants at the Training for Media Workers concluded that mass media need to play a constructive agenda-setting role to promote social justice, good governance, peace and democratic values. This conclusion was reached in two separate  programmes organized by Center for Legal Research and Resource Development (CeLRRd) in Charikot and Manthali in 21st and 22nd December, 2005 respectively with an objective of sharpening  journalistic skills to promote pro-peace and pro-democratic information dissemination Altogether 23 media workers from Dolakha and Ramechhap district representing different media institutions participated  in the programme which was financially supported by European Union (EU) and locally arranged by Community Legal Research Center (CLRC) Udayapur in coordination with Peace Network and Hotline Centres in the respective district.

Democracy requires informed, conscious and critical citizenry for its effective and smooth functioning. The media is expected to play a vital role in democracy in providing citizens with information and thereby helping citizens to make more rational judgements and choices. Media are also the forces that can tremendously contribute to motivate their ideas stimulate their interest and shape their opinion and form a basis of judgement of their performance. But have our media fulfilled the role of a responsible Fourth Estate as they were supposed to undertake? Have they come up to fulfill their responsibilities as have been expected by people? These were the fundamental questions raised by Pradeep Pathak, researcher from Kathmandu School of Law (KSL), who was also entitled to facilitate the first session. Citing numerous examples and the findings of the research carried out at home and abroad, he urged that the history always remembers media for their highly critical role in human development and progress of civil societies. They have also more or less served as an instrument of societal change. But they have very rarely played the decisive role in promoting democratic values, highlighting the achievements of democracy and fostering peace in the country.

His arguments were based on a research carried out by KSL which underscores a number of issues surrounding the media based on their role and performance after the reinstatement of democracy in 1990. He presented the report which shows that although media have provided quantitatively a large space and time for issues related to conflict, politics, human rights and governance, its qualitative analysis reveal that they lack far behind to promote good or healthy politics, develop human rights culture and fostering sustainable peace in the country. Media have acted more to sensationalize than to sensitize and are seen as highlighter of the issue more than being a negotiator. He underlined that mass media need to be socially responsible in discharging their duties. They should promote democratic and constitutional values, rule of law, good governance and social justice. They should direct their efforts towards peaceful approaches to resolving all disputes and differences through meaningful, sustainable and productive negotiations. In all conflict situations, they are required to manage and defuse the conflicts and take confidence building measures that are crucial to creating an enabling environment for the resolution of core disputes and addressing real causes behind the conflicts.

The second session was followed by tea-break during which journalist T.N. Ghimire dealt with the concept, objective and fundamental principles of peace journalism. He discussed on the new methods to approach conflict events from journalistic perspective. He shared that journalists should be well aware about peace and violence, causes and development of the conflict and the ways and forms of violence for the successful pro-peace reporting. He also discussed on the national and international journalistic code of conduct, ethical and moral values to be observed by journalists and other requirements for pro-peace reporting.

During the programme, participants urged that parties to the violent conflict have time and again resisted the idea of independent flow of information. The obstruction created by CPN (Maoist) and the restriction created by the government's administration to reach to the news source and perform independent reporting has also contributed for the increased misunderstandings, deepened misconceptions and differences among the conflicting parties. They also shared that the programme like this would enhance their skill to access the situation and take a conflict-resolution approach. They expressed their commitment to be sensitive in news reporting, promote democratization and human rights culture and act as a mediator in resolving conflicts in the days to come. The programme was initated with a welcome speech by CLRC president Mr. Baldev Chaudhari and ended with votes of appreciation by Chiranjibi Maskey, President of Dolakha District Unit of Federation of Nepalese Journalist.  

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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