On February 9, NYU School of Law’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice published a report highlighting critical gaps in proposals for Nepal’s new constitution. The report, “Rights Within Reach: Securing Equality and Human Rights in Nepal’s New Constitution,” was managed by CHRGJ Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Clinical Law Smita Narula, and produced by International Human Rights Clinic students Monica Iyer '10, Nathalie Laureano (LL.M. '10), and Beatrice Lindstrom '10, and Clinical Contract Attorney Zoe Salzman. The report has been endorsed by a number of groups in Nepal and is being distributed in Nepali to all 601 members of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly. Clinic members will travel to Nepal in March to meet with Nepalese lawmakers and discuss the report’s recommendations.

The report takes aim at ensuring that the new constitution protects the human rights of all Nepalis, and ensures equality rights for Dalits (so-called untouchables) and other marginalized groups in Nepal. Principal among the report’s recommendations are the need to: restrict emergency powers; ensure the right to an effective remedy; ensure non-citizens’ rights; establish national human rights bodies with broad investigative and enforcement powers; and provide for special measures to help secure substantive equality for members of disadvantaged groups.

“As it drafts the new Constitution, the CA must seize this historic opportunity to dismantle Nepal’s caste system and ensure human rights for all of Nepal’s people,” said Narula in a statement. “There can be no true democracy without equality and fundamental rights for all.”

Posted on February 12, 2010