Kathmandu, 31 October 2023
Dear Secretary-General António Guterres:
We undersigned citizens of Nepal have greatly appreciated your presence in our country, a trip which you have utilised to highlight the importance of a humanitarian truce in Gaza, the dangers of the accelerating climate crisis, the message of peace of the Sakyamuni Siddhartha Gautam, as well as the preconditions for a successful conclusion to Nepal’s transitional justice process.
The ongoing carpet bombing of Gaza by Israel is resulting in unimaginable harm to children, women, and men in the region. To be rid of violence in a world awash in dangerous weapons of all kinds, governments and citizens alike need to heed the call for self-realisation and empathy preached by the Sakyamuni 2500 years ago. Your message on global warming from the southern slopes of the Himalaya mountains is significant in the run-up to the COP-28 Conference in three weeks’ time in Dubai.
We were most heartened by your public acknowledgement and appreciation of Nepal’s homegrown peace process, and your highlighting the importance of the precepts of international law as well as Nepal’s Supreme Court judgements in order to bring Nepal’s transitional justice process to a just and humanitarian closure.
In this connection, Mr. Secretary-General, allow us to note with sadness that your visit was incomplete for not having met with the victims of Nepal’s decade-long conflict. It is the victims, as the main stakeholders, who ensured through years of lonely struggle that opportunistic politicians and other players did not derail our transitional justice process. While you did meet the two erstwhile warring sides, you were not able to meet the victims of conflict even though representatives of five organisations had submitted a letter on the morning of 30 October seeking an appointment.
Looking ahead, we are hopeful that your position on the prerequisites for Nepal’s transitional justice process will help guarantee a just and proper conclusion. We need to be alert, Mr. Secretary-General, to the possibility of national and international ‘spoilers’ wanting to foist a perpetrator-friendly ending to the peace process in the name of elapsed time and geopolitical expediency.
We wish you all success in the days ahead in your avowed search for peace in Gaza and elsewhere, and for the COP process to yield concrete results that will help contain climate crisis.
Dr. Gauri Shankar Lal Das, Former Commissioner, National Human Rights Commission
Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal, Member of Parliament, Former Foreign Minister
Hira Bishwakarma, Scholar and Social Activist
Sushil Pyakurel, Former Commissioner, National Human Rights Commission
Tika P. Dhakal, Political Scientist, Former Advisor to the President of Nepal
Kanak Mani Dixit, Writer and journalist (signing on behalf)