24-30 April 2015 #755

Donor pull out

Kantipur, 23 April

Four donors have discontinued support for the Nepal Peace Trust Fund (NPTF), objecting to a legal provision that allows the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to grant amnesty for perpetrators of grave human rights violations during the conflict.

The UK, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark have refused to provide financial support for the second-phase of the (NPTF) saying the Act that was passed last year to form the TRC and the Commission to Investigate Enforced Disappearances (CIED) violates international laws and is against United Nations policies.

At the NPTF board meeting on Wednesday, only the European Union (EU) and USAID signed an agreement to keep up their support of the NPTF’s second-phase programs.

After the Maoists signed a peace accord with the government in 2006, the four countries had been supporting Nepal’s peace process and reconstruction of physical infrastructure damaged during the war. They had also been lobbying against amnesty for human rights violators. But the bill was passed with amnesty provisions, and the countries decided to pull out of the NPTF.

The NPTF has so far spent more than Rs 23 billion, 40 per cent of which was contributed by donor countries. But Rs 100 million of the budget for the Fund’s first-phase activities have not yet been spent, and there is pressure on the government to use this money only for holding local body elections.

The amnesty provision in the TRC Bill was criticised by conflict victims and international human rights organisations, but these concerns were unheeded when the bill was passed and the TRC and the CIED formed. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that perpetrators of grave human rights violations cannot be pardoned, the controversial TRC provisions have not been revised. Six Maoist parties recently regrouped to fight what they say is a ‘conspiracy to sabotage peace process’ by prosecuting war crimes.

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