TRIAL opens its first permanent structure in Nepal
The Human Rights and Justice Centre (HRJC) will improve access to justice for victims of human rights violations in Nepal such as torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and sexual violence.
TRIAL International has been working on Nepal since 2009. Recognizing the need for a stronger in-field presence, it has now established its first litigation center in Kathmandu.
The HRJC will provide free legal support and representation services to victims, regardless of their background, or religious or political affiliation. It will litigate cases both domestically and internationally, a rare feature in the Nepali landscape.
An innovating and participative approach
Staffed exclusively by locals, The HRJC will work with a network of trusted Nepali lawyers, all of whom have received special training by TRIAL International.
“The HJRC is designed as a hub for human rights lawyers, victims and activists” explains Ranjeeta Silwal, Human Rights Coordinator. “All cases are selected and analyzed by the HRJC, before being assigned to the most adequate lawyer on its roster. A HRJC legal advisor – specialized in human rights issues – will follow the case throughout the proceedings, in synergy with the appointed lawyer and the victim”
The HRJC will also aim to empower local actors, from lawyers to victims themselves. It will provide specialized trainings and coaching to lawyers, but also legal assistance to NGOs working on documentation and litigation. Additionally, the HRJC organizes regular empowerment workshops for victims, so that they can better understand their rights and be more involved in the proceedings.
Fostering broad cooperation
Finally, the HRJC believes that a culture of human rights in Nepal must also be built at a structural level. It will therefore lobby domestic authorities for fairer laws and policies, with a particular focus on implementing decisions of the United Nations human rights bodies.
The Centre will be helped in its mission by broad range of partners in Nepal and outside, such as other non-governmental organisations, diplomatic bodies, and individual experts.
“It is consistent with TRIAL’s ethos that we build bridges and work collaboratively. All actors fighting impunity in Nepal must come together to bring about lasting change” concludes Helena Rodríguez-Bronchú Carceller, Head of the Nepal program at TRIAL International.