Nepal Report Launch

On 13 September, the APPG FoRB hosted the launch of their report on a January delegation to Nepal. Speakers at the launch included Deputy Special Envoy for FoRB David Burrows, Rachel Miner (founder and CEO of Bellwether International), Professor Mark Hill KC, Catherine West MP, Special Envoy for FoRB Fiona Bruce MP, Tommy Sheppard MP (chair of the meeting), and Julie Jones (APPG FoRB director).

Burrowes began the meeting by giving a brief overview of the FoRB delegation to Nepal’s trip, giving special thanks to APPG FoRB shareholders for providing funding and expertise to the delegation.

Nepal’s constitution guarantees FoRB which has provided an important basis for constructing law and policies in the state. The report proved itself to be an unusual one because of the large number of formal and informal accounts from lawyers, representatives of NGOs, and others addressing the broad interpretations of section 158 of the Nepalese criminal code.

Miner discussed Nepal’s recent political history. She emphasised that the early years after the formation of a new government are when it is most vulnerable. She also noted two areas of concern: the plight of the victims of human trafficking, which is particularly harmful to Nepalese women and children, and the legal status and wellbeing of Tibetan refugees who are currently unable to obtain legal status and asylum.

Hill focused on the recommendations made in the report, which centre on three areas: encouraging Constitutional FoRB provisions and support, suggesting clarifications in criminal code that deal with proselyting and the use of coercive force, and guidelines or a code of practice to help local law enforcement to interpret the criminal code.

West and Bruce both spoke in praise of the report, with recommendations for further actions including a possible debate and written questions.

Sheppard spoke on FoRB generally in the region. He suggested that the lack of international focus on Nepal could be a benefit because of the country’s strategic placement, as well as the need for nuanced recommendations.

Access to the report will be available on the APPG FoRB website under “Reports.” For more details on the delegation, contact APPG director Julie Jones.