Real Rights Now: one database, 26 cases of human rights violations in Nepal
For years, TRIAL International and its partners in Nepal have demanded that international decisions translate into real change for victims and their families. To disseminate their claim and ensure information is widely shared, they have put together an online database of individual cases that have been litigated to date.
In 2016, TRIAL International and its partners launched Real Rights Now, a campaign to push for the implementation of the UN Human Rights Committee’s (HRC) decisions on human rights violations in Nepal. After several years, the demands remain the same but the needs have changed. The Real Rights Now website has adapted and became a database of the cases on which the HRC has issued decisions but have not, to this day, materialized into concrete change for the victims.
Sharing information to push for change
The Real Rights Now database is a central point of reference – in both Nepali and English – where all HRC decisions concerning gross human rights violations in Nepal are easily accessible. It is also the only database providing information on the cases’ follow-up after HRC decisions. “The content was developed with Nepali lawyers, decision-makers, students and journalists in mind. Our aim is to share the information as widely as possible to push the Nepalese authorities to investigate the cases, prosecute the perpetrators and provide reparation to the victims” explains Cristina Cariello, Head of the Nepal program at TRIAL International.
While some contents are purely legal, the Real Rights Now database strives to be as understandable and accessible as possible. In addition to case details, it also includes general information on the HRC’s functioning, victims’ testimonies and an overview of the implementation status.
A collaborative and long-termed approach
Five NGOs have pooled together their information on these cases and the implementation of HRC decisions: TRIAL International, REDRESS, Advocacy Forum, Juri-Nepal launched the original campaign in 2016, and were joined in 2018 by the Human Rights and Justice Centre, TRIAL International’s sister organization in Katmandu. The database’s management is now the responsibility of the HJRC and TRIAL International, who have also overseen its revamp.
“Real Rights Now reflects our belief that advocacy is a joint effort” says Ranjeeta Silwal, Human Rights Coordinator at the Human Rights and Justice Centre. “Beyond the sharing of information to ensure the database was as complete as possible, all partners believe that we can only achieve change by speaking with a single voice.”
NGOs also join forces in other efforts to translate HRC decisions into actions, such as bringing together government officials to understand and define their responsibilities, arranging meetings between victims and government officials, media outreach, updating the HRC and publishing policy papers and reports.
Salina Kafle, Human Rights Officer at the HRJC concludes: “Our objectives are long-termed and we call for structural change. We are saddened by the authorities’ lack of action, but we are determined to keep on fighting with the victims on the cases.”