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

E-Bulletin (Vol 53)

1st April 2006

Past Volumes

 

News

   

Feature Article

   
 

KSL announces admission-open in 2 years LL.M Programs in three specialized areas of law viz. Human Rights and Gender Justice, Criminal Law and Justice, and Business and International Trade Laws

Interested students holding Bachelors' Degree in Law are eligible to apply for the program. The last date for the submission of application form is 27th Baisakh 2063.  <For more click here>

 

News

       

Workshops on Security Sector Reform and Security and Justice Service Delivery in London

A two-day workshop on Security Sector Reform and Security and Justice Service Delivery was organized in London by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Department for International Development (DFID) and Demos. The first day 23rd March, 2006 and the second day (24th March) covered the themes of Security Sector Reform and security and Justice Service Delivery in Fragile States respectively. The program was intended to stimulate new thinking about the implementation of Security Sector Reform (SSR) policy and to identify good practices regarding service delivery model that assist governments, civil society and the private sector in the delivery of basic services of security and justice within a fragile state environment.  Cases from Nepal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Solomon Islands were presented which were followed by discussions and comments. The representatives from these four countries and from DFID, OECD and Demos constituted the major part of participants. The presentation centered on existing situation, problems, prospects, way-out and role for international donor agencies.  The program discussed about the necessity of serious political engagement by the international community, in addition to that of development actors as fragility is often caused by essentially political problems. Adding to the fact that each fragile state is different and approach should be context specific, the program discussed about how development agencies can help support the delivery of justice and security services in different fragile state scenarios. It focused that in worsening conflict and human rights situations it may be less risky to focus work on the non-coercive elements of the security system, such as the justice sector and despite the risks, it is vital that donors remain engaged with security and justice institutions where possible. (Re)establishing justice and security services (often they will never have been provided by the state) is a long-term challenge that necessitates a lengthy commitment by donors. Developing a common security and justice sector development strategy is vital to help encourage coordination.  This should ideally be led by the national government to increase ownership. Local leadership is inevitable for reform processes in these contexts and donors should seek to identify potential leaders. A joined-up international approach to different issues is vital to avoid providing perverse incentives (for example, the reintegration package on offer to ex-combatants in DRC is much better than the salary being offered to join the new army, thus meaning that the recruits left for the army are of poor quality). The program discussed these issues, just to name a few, and located possibility for partnerships to be developed with NGOs to help test approaches through pilot projects which can then be scaled up if successful.

Mr. Govinda Thapa, Mr. Khagendra Prasai, Mr. Shree Prasad Pandit and Mr. Satish Krishna Kharel participated in the workshop representing Nepal. Mr. Prasai is assistant professor at Kathmandu School of Law.  

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Successful Accomplishment of Peace Project

CeLRRd successfully accomplished the European Union (EU) funded Peace Project entitled Fostering Peace through Discourse on Democratic Values, Constitutionalism and Methods and Techniques of Conflict Transformation. The project was implemented in Kathmandu, Dhanusa, Mahottari, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Siraha, Saptari, Udayapur, Khotang, Okhaldhunga and Solukhumbu for one year. The beneficiaries of the project included political leaders, human rights workers, media workers, youths and adolescent populations at grassroots level and ordinary population.

Upon the completion of the project activities, it was noted that 364 (267 male and 97 female) district political leaders, 916 (578 male and 338 female) youths and adolescents, 139 (122 male and 17 female) media workers and 32 (30 male and 2 female) central level political leaders directly benefited from the programme. In addition, political cadre-ship was indirect beneficiaries of the activities because their leaders and peers involved in the programme were expected to transmit the idea and knowledge to them. Youths and adolescents and media workers involved in aforementioned discourses and training definitely brought positive understandings to their family and friends, and audience respectively. Moreover, the feedback received after each television programme indicated that a significant number of citizens benefited from mass media dissemination.

The project has contributed to generate a feeling of a need of collective pressure for negotiated political solution of the conflict and development of peace culture in Nepal. 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. The concept of ‘Inclusive Democracy’ was introduced under which a critical analysis of the performance of the democracy over the last fifteen years was carried out and intensely discussed. The results achieved can be enumerated as follows:

a)         The program has tremendously contributed to deepen the discourse on democratic values and constitutionalism as the fundamental prerequisite for transformation of the conflict. Participants agreed that the country’s future is secured only in democracy. They highlighted on the need of reforming the system so that it can be inclusive in nature. Participants of the discourse took the agenda of “Inclusive Democracy” as their future goal in their respective party meetings and the major parties principally agreed it as their program of priorities.

b)        District political leaders have started to build pressure for the central leadership from grassroots level party activists to work according to the democratic values, constitutionalism, and think seriously on methods and techniques of conflict transformation. It generated the need of bringing rebels into democratic political mainstream and strengthening human rights and rule of law for peaceful transformation of the conflict. They showed high individual levels of commitment to working to promote peace building in their community and through their work.  Participants, in turn, started to transfer this message within their party cadres and among the masses.

c)         Failure of the political party leadership in providing social and economic justice to the people was widely acknowledged by the participants. They highlighted that the transformation of the conflict was impossible without prompt action to equitable distribution of the economy. They agreed on the need of reforming the system to make it inclusive in nature ensuring the participation and involvement of all sectors of the Nepalese society.

d)        Youth population was critically nurtured with politics. They realized their role in conflict transformation and peace building approaches. The discourse was successful in considerable degree to penetrate new thinking and change in their attitudes. The visible evidence of the program impact was that they started to participate in activities promoting peace and human rights and took initiation to create local youth clubs and forums for peace. After the participation in the programme, some student and youth leaders were found actively involved in initiating debate of succession of leaderships in their respective organization which also justifies the massive impact of the programme. The declaration issued by the participants at the end of the discussion clearly shows that critical youth mass and movement in defence of the democracy and open society has been generated, which is a foundation for protection and strengthening of the human rights and rule of law.

e)         The training for media workers generated deepening awareness 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. They got critical knowledge on democratic and constitutional values, human rights concerns, and their role in conflict transformation and conflict reporting as responsive fourth estate. The training provided theoretical and practical guidance to advance peace journalism in their daily media works. 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. They concluded that they would pay special attention to the cause of a problem and its consequences and the impact caused by the armed conflict in disseminating news and views. The visible impact of the programme was that those who participated were found to be conflict conscious in their reporting. Their reporting were found to be fact-based and directed towards peace building. 

f)          The constant feedback received from the audience about the audio-visual programme indicated that the TV programme had been influential in creating a huge mass against violent conflict and in favour of democracy and peace. The intellectuals, professionals and common people praised the effort taken by the project to create a pro-peace mass by disseminating information on the impacts and consequences of the conflict. The message conveyed, statistical data presented in the documentary and the conclusion drawn at the end of each programme generated the need of reduction of conflict’s impacts on ordinary people. 

(Extracted from the final report prepared by CeLRRd which has been approved by the EU)

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Feature Article

 

 

 

 

Concept of Good Governance and the municipal election

Good Governance embraces nine pillars as its incessant approach. They are participation, consensus orientation, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiencies, equitability and inclusiveness. All these approaches follow the rule of law. It ensures that governance of the state is carried out by representatives of the majority of people, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society. The World Bank has stated that "the minimum core characteristics of governance derive from, or are related to, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)", which plays a crucial role in the realization of the fundamental right to development.

VDCs and Municipalities are the basic and fundamental local units to fulfill the peoples' right to development. People exercise their rights to development by selecting their representatives through participation in election. Participation encourages the decision-making process to be democratic and ensures that the will of the greater number prevails. It follows that there must be equity and inclusiveness in the decision-making process such that all actors and their vulnerability are taken into account. Article 21 of the UDHR holds the foundation for popular participation in governance. Under the article, each individual has the right to participate directly in governance or through representatives chosen by the majority. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government. Each individual also has the right to public services and resources for his/her development.

The Declaration of the Right to Development further concretizes the importance of the principles of Good Governance in development. It, under article one, declares the right of participation in development and stresses the inalienable nature of such right in the attainment of the minimum requirements of human rights. Article 2, on the other hand, lays down the prerogative and obligation of States to consider the participation of the people in the policy making. Furthermore, the Declaration on Social Progress and Development reiterates the idea of active participation of all elements of society in defining and in achieving the common goals of development. Despite all these international provisions, which Nepal is morally supportive to, the recently held municipal election utterly contradicts with these principles, spirits and guidelines of good governance. Thus the even basic norm of good governance seems to have been extinct from Nepali soil.     

The 'alleged election', which the ruling elites call it, a great success has taken place in a very midst of confusion. However, more than half of the seats have remained vacant, a significant number of people have been elected unopposed and only a few people were seen vying for the post of mayor and his/her deputy. This is because major national parties and the CPN (Maoist), the latter being another influential force in Nepali politics, have called to boycott the election expressing it as a bogus act to legitimize the present government and throw false impression to international community of existence of democracy in Nepal. The highest degree of legitimate decision is achieved only by the direct, unmediated vote of the people and legitimacy is every bit as much the root of democratic stability. But in light of the above circumstances no one has expected the peoples' active participation in the election and the very low turn out of the votes has reflected this, thus virtually ignoring the wider participation of people in the election.

The people, as an actor should not wait for good governance reforms to be instituted but they must actively participate themselves by taking initiative - build forums for broader participation.  But in the present election it seemed that the person elected through votes from a small population is to act as peoples' representative of the whole population. This is, in one hand, a total ignorance of democratic culture and practices while on the other, the peoples' representative, who are entitled to gain the confidence of the people and involve in the local development are no longer in position to gain that confidence. This is also directly related to the representatives' accountability to the people. The peoples' representatives should be accountable to their electorates because no political system can possibly achieve stability and legitimacy without being first accountable to its people. But in the context of municipal election, it can be urged that when he/she has been elected through votes of small number of people, how can one expect his/her accountability to the whole electorates of his/her ward or municipality? This increases the vulnerability of using his/her power to exploit against the management of local resources. Hence, the election can be called as a sheer joke and mockery of democracy when almost all national parties, a large section of civil society and the CPN (Maoist) have called for the active boycott of the municipal election.

Participation cannot exist with apathy. But in the present election, what's the point of good governance where majority of peoples' consensus has never been taken into account? Good Governance is not merely a pay lip service. It is an active and meaningful participation of the stakeholders in decision-making and benefit sharing. In other words, it is a participative system in which representatives are called upon to govern on behalf of people motivated with a will to solve and do the best to the people and make their lives meaningful. But the present electoral process can not be called as participatory, consensus oriented and inclusive since it severely failed to echo the desire, aspiration and ethos of the people.

(Ms. Pathak is studying in LL.B 5th Year in KSL. She
was adjudged the Best Researcher in the First Henry Dunant Memorial Regional Moot Court Competition for South Asia held at New Delhi on 14th to 15th October 2005. )

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