Global Community Demands Political Rights of Dalits in the New Constitution; Opposed ‘derogatory terms and provisions’ in New Constitution

Ottawa, Canada, July 20 – International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR), USA and Nepaldalitinfo International, Canada along with several international and Nepali diaspora organizations, leaders and activists handed over a Joint Memorandum to H.E. Mr. Kali Prasad Pokhrel regarding the Political Rights of Dalits in New Constitution of Nepal at Nepali Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.  Ambassador Mr. Pokharel ensured that he will immediately  forward this memorandum to Rt. Honorable Chairperson of the Constituency Assembly, Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. Shushil Koirala; Constitutional Draft Committee Coordinator Mr. Krishna Sitoula, political party leaders and members of Constituency Assembly.

The memorandum demands to ensure the proportionate political representation of Dalits in the New Constitution of Nepal. Dalits shall have special political rights to represent in the legislative-assemblies at central, provincial and local levels under the principles of inclusive democracy and International Convention of Civil and Political Rights. This provision shall apply for the formation of parliament, provincial assemblies, and District Assemblies.

ICDR President and Human Rights Advocate Mr. DB Sagar said, ‘the Draft Constitution is not guarantee the civil and political rights of Dalits and minorities at all levels.’ The Draft Constitution has used derogatory terms and provisions in several sections, if passed without ensuring political rights of Dalits, will be more regressive, said while submitting memorandum at the Embassy.

Dr. Drona Rasali, Founder of Nepaldalitinfo International network in his briefing on the memorandum has called for ensuring that a minimum of 25% (one-fourth) of the total members of Parliament must represent Dalits at central, provincial and local legislative-assemblies through a Special Electoral Processes and Proportional Representation System.  He further calls for a minimum of one-fourth of total members from Dalits in the cabinet of the executive (Ministers of Council) in central, provincial and local governments; and if there be a special commission or agency constituted, then this provision apply at the same ratio.

NASO President Gopal Bishwakarma and other representatives warned political parties and CA members that they should step up, if their voice will unheard both at national and international arena. We stand in solidarity with Women, Indigenous/Nationalities (Adhibasi/Janajaati), Madeshi, Muslim and other minority against inequalities and discriminatory provisions in the Draft Constitution.

Full text of Joint Memorandum:

ICDR       Nepaldalitinfo

July 20, 2015

His Excellency Mr. Subash Chandra Nembang

Rt. Honorable Chairperson,

Constituency Assemble of Nepal

Singha Darbar, Kathmandu.

Copy to:

Rt. Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Sushil Koirala,

Prime Minister and Council of Ministers,

Government of Nepal

Singha Darbar, Kathmandu.

Honorable Coordinator Mr. Krishna Prasad Sitoula

Constitution Draft Committee

Constituency Assembly of Nepal

Singha Darbar, Kathmandu.

Honorable Party Leaders,

Major Political Parties in Constituency Assembly

Kathmandu.

Honorable Member,

Constituency Assembly of Nepal

Kathmandu.

Diplomatic Missions to Nepal

Kathmandu.

Through:

His Excellency Kali Prasad Pokhrel

Embassy of Nepal in Canada

408 Queen Street, Ottawa

Ontario K1R 5A7, Canada.

Re: Joint Memorandum to Ensure Dalit Civil and Political Rights in the New Constitution of Nepal

Your Excellency:

We, the undersigned representatives of international and Diaspora Organizations, are writing to convey our concerns to ensure the proportionate political representation of Dalits in the New Constitution of Nepal. The Draft Constitution is silent about the Proportionate Representation of Dalits at central, provincial and local governments and assemblies, and also used ‘derogatory terms and provisions’ in the many sections, including state’s directive principles, electoral system; inclusive representation. Therefore, the Constitution of Nepal shall guarantee to the Dalits the following Rights:

Section 45 – Dalit’s Rights:

1. Rights to Proportionate Representation in the Legislative-Assemblies: we urge you to ensure that a minimum of 25% (one-fourth) of the total members of Parliament must represent Dalits at central, provincial and local legislative-assemblies through a Special Electoral Processes and Proportional Representation System.

Dalits shall have special political rights to represent in the legislative-assemblies at central, provincial and local levels under the principles of inclusive democracy and International Convention of Civil and Political Rights. This provision shall apply for the formation of parliament (section 88 and 90 of the Draft Constitution), provincial assemblies (section 175 of the Draft Constitution), and District Assemblies (section 218 of the Draft Constitution). 

Sections 54 and 55 – State’s Directive Principles and Policies

2. We call upon the Constituency Assembly and the Government of Nepal (GoN) to recognize caste-based discrimination and all other forms of discrimination and inequality as key challenges to achieving inclusive democracy, equality, liberty, justice, good governance, and progressive reformation of the nation, including establishing a casteless society.

Section 79 – Formation of Ministers of Council

3. Rights to Representation in the Executive / Ministers of Council: Dalits shall constitute a minimum of one-fourth of total members in the cabinet of the executive (Ministers of Council) in central, provincial and local governments (section 213 of the Draft Constitution); and if there be a special commission or agency constituted, then this provision apply at the same ratio.

Section 129 – Judicial

4. Inclusive Judicial mechanisms: we urge you to ensure inclusive representation of Dalits in the judicial mechanisms while promoting and nominating judges and registers at the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts and District Courts or any other semi-judicial bodies.

Sections 237, 241, 244, 247, 251– Rights of Representation in Constitutional Bodies

5. Rights to Representation in Constitutional Bodies: Dalits shall have representation in the constitutional bodies under the principles of inclusive democracy, proportionate representation, and also the progressive restructuring of the state in order to resolve the existing socio-political exclusion based on caste, ethnicity, gender, region and social status.

6. We affirm the most recent Memoranda submitted by the Dalit Lawmakers (June 23, 2015), and Dalit Civil Society/Dalit NGO Federation, regarding proportionate representation of Dalits, women and minorities as a Constitutional Special Political Rights in all branches of governments (legislative, executive and judicial) at central, provincial and local governments as well as political parties and constitutional bodies.

7. We stand in solidarity with Women, Indigenous/Nationalities (Adhibasi/Janajaati), Madeshi, Muslim and other minority against Inequalities and discriminatory provisions in the Draft Constitution.

Interim Constitution of 2007 and First Constituency Assembly

8. We reiterate that the New Constitution should endorse all provisions of the Interim Constitution of 2007, and political consensus made by the First Constituency Assembly regarding fundamental and socio-political rights of Dalits and minority populations.

International Human Rights Obligations

9. We call upon the GoN for meaningful implementation of existing international human rights agreements in order for Dalits and other vulnerable groups with requisite political will, civic engagement, skills, technologies and resources to achieve equality and equal access to justice.

10. We call upon the Constituency Assembly, the government, and the political parties to create affirmative actions and policies to fulfill their international human rights obligations to protect, promote, and respect human rights of all persons, including caste-affected people; enforce national legislation and end impunity for crimes committed against Dalits and other vulnerable groups; and adopt and implement special measures and budgetary allocations for Dalits and similarly discriminated or marginalized communities,

These memoranda are set with the vison to establish Dalit Rights as human rights by 2020 from the delegates of First Global Conference on Dalit Rights 2015 and Dalit Rights Movement of Nepal. We are concerned that the Draft Constitution contains discriminatory provisions against Dalits and many other vulnerable populations, including Women. We once again urge you to take measures necessary to ensure that the New Constitution of Nepal honors Dalit civic and political rights.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

DB Sagar Bishwakarma, President, International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR), United State of America

Dr. Drona P. Rasali, Founder, Nepaldalitinfo International Network, Canada

Dr. Donald L Zimmerman, Vice-Chair at the ICDR, USA

Dr. Damber K Gurung, Treasurer and Founding Member at ICDR

Krishna Sob, Board of Director at ICDR

Dr. Steve Folmar – NC, USA, Founding Board of Director at ICDR

Rick Gold – FL, USA, Board of Director at ICDR

Dr. Maria Suchowski – IL, USA, Board of Director at ICDR

Elizabeth Clay Roy – NY, USA, Board of Director at ICDR

Kenya Tyson – DC, USA, Board of Advisor at the ICDR

Gopal Bishwakarma- President, Nepali-American Society for Oppressed (NASO) Community, USA

Prakash Nepal, Board of Advisor at ICDR/ Nepali Diaspora Leader in USA

Bishwaraj Thapa, Enepalese.com – Online News, DC Metro Area

Mikuak Rai, Communication Director at ICDR

Dr. Purvi Mehta, Advisor at the ICDR

Judge Rohulamin Quander, Founder of the Quander Historical Society, Inc. (African American Legacy Foundation), DC

Raju Kamble, Chairman at Ambedkar International Mission, TX, USA

Benjamin Kaila, Founder President at Friends for Education International, CA, USA

Dr. Arun K. Goutam, President at Dr. Ambedkar International Mission, Canada

Davinder Prasad, General Secretary at the Caste Watch UK, London

Rev. Gideon Jimamani at Indian Network, New York, USA

Dharam Bishwokarma, Former President, NASO Community, MD, USA.

ICDR       Nepaldalitinfo

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