As Nepal is in a transitional phase of the peace process and constitution writing, an event like the Human Rights National Magna 2011 assumes its own significance.
This meet coincides with the 63rd anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. According to organizers, the Magna Meets, so far, have turned out to be historical milestones in the human rights work and this will be established as a tradition for the upcoming years too.
“This is one of the most important events in the human rights movement in Nepal. It helps to promote the awareness of peace, democracy and human rights among the common people and or to make advancement in the level of awareness of common citizens about human rights situation by sharing their experiences and lessons learnt,” said Kapil Shrestha, coordinator of Human Rights National Magna Meet 2011, while addressing in interactions with various stake holders. “There will be diverse participation from various social sectors.”
At the function, a jointly submitted concept paper by Media Initiative for Rights, Equity and Social Transformation and National Human Rights Foundation said one of the immediate objectives of the Magna Meet is to provide a common platform for enhancement of the opportunity for cooperation among stakeholders involved in the issue of human rights, peace and development.
At a time when Nepal has been going through a process of unprecedented change, transformation and transition in every aspect of life, there is the need to consolidate democratic, human rights culture in the country. Human Rights National Magna Meet 2011 is part of this consolidation process.
Bhavani Kharel, co-coordinator of Human Rights National Magna 2011, said we are holding the Magna 2011 at a crucial period when we are in the process of conclusion of the peace process and promulgation of the new constitution. The NGO Federation is holding nationwide programs to mark the Magna. “We will issue the Kathmandu Declaration stressing for the promulgation of the new constitution in time. Unlike previous years, there will be extensive participation from all sectors.”
Bad practices have affected people’s sense of dignity, their ability to exercise rights and develop their potential. Nepal has failed to address these issues for long. As this is a very important year when the entire country is engaged in building peace by responding to the human rights deficits by drafting a forward looking human rights friendly constitution, the Human Rights National Magna 2011 has come to be seen as very important.
To make the Magna 2011 successful, the organization committee sought the active participation of media and media houses. “Without human rights like freedom of expression, media cannot flourish. We are always preparing to support human rights movement in Nepal,” said R.K. Manandhar, chairman of Image Channel in an interaction.
Media needs more orientation. Speaking on behalf of Media Society, Pushkarlal Pradhan, publisher of Nepal Samacharpatra Daily, said we will always oppose violation of human rights. “Media are standing in forefront of Human rights protection,” said Nirmala Sharma, vice chairperson of Sancharika Samuha.
“We need a broad spectrum of representation in the Magna,” said human rights activist Charan Prasai. “Human rights activists and media need to go together side by side.”
There is the need to make efforts for the media and human rights institutions to go hand in hand. “Community based FM Media can be effective to disseminate the rights based approach in broad spectrum,” said Min Bahadur Shahi, president of Community Radio Broadcasting.
Amidst the mounting human rights challenges, Nepali human rights community had decided to celebrate the Human Rights day in the form of Magna Meet since 2009. Magna Meet is a new initiative in enhancing overall human rights situation in the country.
“This is a good platform to share the views regarding the human rights and express joint solidarity to protect it,” said Ganesh BK.
“We are expecting large numbers of participants in the meet. The participants include National Human Rights Institutions, security agencies, government ministries, national human rights organizations, international and regional organizations, professional organization and various ethnic groups,” said co-coordinator Suresh Acharya.
The Magna aims to strengthen social coherence and tolerance by extending reality of each other’s needs, hindrances and grievances among different groups and communities of the nation.
“There is the need to broaden the human rights perspective, including the right to live in clean environment,” demanded Laxman Uprety, president of Nepal Forum for Environment Journalists.
One of the outputs of Magna will be to develop a common understanding on present scenario of human rights, conflict transformation and peace process among the common people and a consensus among the stakeholders on the issue of the need to pressurize the Constituent Assembly members and the senior party leaders to draft the new constitution incorporating the ideals of human rights, democracy and peace.
The organizers will also organize 10 events of one day seminars on different issues relating to the opinion and experience sharing on constitution making, conflict transformation, sustainable peace and development. Formation of a common forum to accelerate cooperation and collective initiatives for strengthening human rights, sustainable peace and development and sharing annual human rights campaign activities amongst the civil society organizations, state and private sectors and establish the rationale of organizing Magna Meet every year.
The Magna will be formally opened on 9th December and it will close on 11th December.