Role of provincial and local governments in reparation

Addressing immediate reparative needs of conflict victims in Nepal

The Nepal government must provide reparations as compensation for the harm caused and the trauma still being experienced by thousands of individuals and families following the aftermath of the decade long armed conflict.

Providing reparation is not just a policy choice but an obligation owed to victims as a result of an unlawful breach of international and domestic law during the conflict. Victims of gross violation of human rights and humanitarian law have a right to reparations and States have a corresponding obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill this right. Reparation serves as a vehicle for acknowledging past violations and state responsibility for harms suffered by victims as well as a public commitment to respond to their enduring impact. Domestic reparation programs are considered to be the most effective tool for victims to receive reparation. It is important to note that reparation not only means compensation but measures including restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-recurrence. Reparation must be “adequate, effective and prompt” building upon the principle of “full reparation”. Reparation can take place as individual or collective, material or symbolic reparation, or both.

While framing the discourse around reparations in Nepal, it is important to note that the transitional justice agenda has mainly been centralized due to Nepal adopting federalism only in 2015 with promulgation of the new Constitution. The Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2014 (TRC Act) was adopted in the unitary (centralized) context. Given the above circumstance this policy paper aims to explore the roles of the provincial and local level governments in delivering reparation in general and addressing the immediate needs of victims. This paper seeks to support the provincial and local governments to undertake reparation initiations within their jurisdiction, powers, and functions as prescribed by the Constitution of Nepal (2015), the Local Government Operationalization Act 2017, and the TRC Act 2014.