“NRA should work quickly and un-bureaucratically” Mrs. Dagmar Wohrl

Mrs. Dagmar Wohrl, chairperson of the committee on Economic Development of Bundestag, German Federal Parliament, recently visited Nepal. Excerpts of her statement delivered at a press meet.

March 30, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.09, No 18, April 1,2016 (Chaitra 19, 2072)

How do you see your visit?

Although the focus of the global community is very much on IS, Middle East and refugees crisis, we visited the areas destroyed by the earthquakes. Germany will not forget Nepal at this point. We have been involved in development cooperation for Nepal for the last sixty years. We will not forget this partnership. It was important for us to visit Nepal before the first anniversary of the terrible earthquake and express our solidarity with Nepal and Nepalese people. We are here with you to support. We want to support the poorest of the poor, in particular.

How do you see the major challenges before Nepal?

The major challenges for Nepal at present are reconciliation, rebuilding and reconstruction after the devastating earthquakes. We began our meeting with members of parliament of Nepal. This is our usual practice to meet the parliamentarians.

Is it an all-party delegation?

Our group contains representatives of each party represented in the parliament in Germany. This is an all-party parliamentary delegation. We don’t represent the interest of any particular party but the interest of all political parties. We are here to see the challenges faced by women. We had also a discussion with your president and she also said that there is the need to have an all-party consensus to work for the betterment of people. The well-being of the people should be of utmost priority.

How do you look at the constitution of Nepal?

You have a good constitution. I was informed that there is an amendment in the constitution. It is basically a good constitution. However, the most important thing is that the basic provisions contained in the constitution should be implemented.

Why do you say it is a good constitution?

Your constitution is very inclusive and it is women-friendly. You have a woman president, a woman speaker and another woman in the judiciary. There are 33 percent women in parliament. Similarly, all the ethnic groups are represented in the parliament. As we are told, this constitution was promulgated by 90 percent of CA members.

How do you see the transitional justice in Nepal?

We met with the office bearers of Truth and Reconciliation and Disappearance commissions. We talked to them about the future of the country and peace process. We told them that perpetrators who were involved in serious human rights violation in the past should be brought to justice through the transitional system. Victim's voices should be heard that those human rights offenders should be punished. The commissions should identify the perpetrators and they should be prosecuted in the court. There is also the need to provide compensation.

How did they respond to you?

We had discussions within the group and we came to realize that both the commissions are not working properly. You need to have legal system to punish perpetrators.  We talked about the torture law.  We are very much concerned about amnesty. We spoke about amnesty. The Supreme Court has delivered a judgment against the amnesty provision.  In our country, law is declared null and void once the Supreme Court takes a decision.

What other areas are you interested in?

We also visited a brick kiln and looked at the issue of child labor. This is an area where your country is facing major problems. Some of the factories are child labor free and there are many where child labor is rampant. However, the situation is improving. Germany is ready to work with Nepal to end the child labor.

What is your impression of the earthquake recovery process?

As you know the first anniversary of the earthquake is coming soon, we inspected various areas to see what achievements have been made so far in recovery and how much assistance was given to victims.

How do you see the work of NGOs?

We are lucky to say that German organizations have been working in Nepal for decades in development sector. I am happy to say that these German organizations started to work in recovery even before the National Reconstruction Authority was set up. They have made a lot of progress compared to other organizations.

How do you see NRA’s role?

Second area we are interested in is National Reconstruction Authority (NRA). As NRA is now concentrating more on guidelines and other paper work, it will delay the process of reconstruction. We would like to see NRA work towards quick implementation of reconstruction so that the rural and poor people get home to avoid harsh winter and rain. As this is the extraordinary situation, there is the need of special acts to deal with it. During the time of emergency, all relevant ministries, authorities and other bodies need to work together rather than working against each other. NRA should work quickly and un-bureaucratically. We want to see a quick recovery and reconstruction.

What is your experience in Nuwakot?

We visited Nuwakot and tried to find out how the money was spent. We visited district hospitals. Our people are involved in basic health services and interim health centers.

How do you see the use of money provided by citizens of Germany?

People have donated a lot of money on the basis of trust that the money is going to be spent well and quickly. As the anniversary is coming, focus will now be on what has been achieved and what is going on. Once people will hear that just a certain fraction of the money donated by them has been spent, they will not donate in future. According to German law, if the money donated to non-profit organizations is not spent in stipulated period, the money should be returned to those who donated it. If the money donated to Nepal has not been spent, it should be returned to the donors. There is the need to maintain the momentum of progress. However, there is a question for leadership. Where is the leadership?

How do you see the response of the people?

We met quite a number of NGOs and people affected by earthquake. We are fascinated by the determination and courage shown by the people. That should reflect on the government. There is the need to have a quick rebuilding and recovery program. This should show young people that there is a future in Nepal. The youth should feel that they should not flee abroad. 

What about the state of Nepal?

You live in an absolutely wonderful country and you have a vast resource, with other countries, you should be grateful for. You have wonderful cultural heritage and it is important to maintain them for tourism. The question is where is the leadership?  Your people are friendly and hospitable.

How do you see the performance of two commissions?

Our concern is that you have two commissions working for reconciliation but they are not making any achievement. It is also important that there is the need to appoint independent people. We are looking at the internal political situation and we do not interfere in the internal political affairs of any country. People are friendly and they are happy.It is a very important time here and we are writing about our visit to present it at Bundestag. The report will be debated in our Bundestag at the first anniversary of the earthquake. At that point, people will be looking at what is happening in Nepal.


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