Hi everyone. Thank you for being here for this new episode of Nepal Now, the podcast where we highlight different ideas and ways of moving the country forward. I’m Marty Logan, and I hope you can hear those birds chirping in the background. We just had a light rain so they've come out to celebrate.
Before we get into this episode, I want to let you know that you’re now able to support Nepal Now financially — if you wish. Go to our website, nepalnow.buzzsprout.com, then to the narrow black box titled Nepal Now +, where you can click to support the show. I’ve also included the link in the notes to this episode. This is strictly voluntary; we will not restrict new episodes to people who support us, but it will help pay for the time that we put into the show. And, I must say, for me it is also a vote of confidence in our work. If you have any questions or suggestions you can write to me at email@example.com. Thank you.
Today we’re speaking with Dr Mandira Sharma, a human rights activist, founder of the NGO Advocacy Forum, and senior international legal advisor at the International Commission of Jurists. She was involved in the very first exhumation of a body in a conflict-related case in Nepal, in 2007, and has been training in the process since then as a non-medical expert.
Mandira says that Nepal has been slow to undertake exhumations to try to find some of the more than 3,000 people said to be ‘disappeared’ during the conflict, from 1996 to 2006. It has also neglected to develop technical expertise and policies and guidelines to undertake the work.
We also chat about how exhumation fits into the four pillars of transitional justice and if Nepal is neglecting most of those pillars. Finally, Mandira argues that the state of the country today, including economic under-development and political instability can be traced back to the impunity that has reigned over Nepal since before the conflict.
Importantly, in the days following our recording, a case was filed in Nepal’s Supreme Court against Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Known as Prachanda when he led the Maoist uprising, in 2020 Dahal admitted that the Maoists were responsible for 5,000 of the 17,000 people estimated killed during the conflict. Starting on Thursday, the Supreme Court will hear if the prime minister should be investigated for that crime.
And a warning before we start: This episode discusses exhumation of the bodies of victims of conflict. Please take care while listening.
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Thanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for advice and inspiration.
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