Huron's Contribution for restoration of Democracy:

During the 1980's there was a growing people's movement, opposing the oppressive party less Panchayat regime and calling for human rights and democracy. This vanguard movement was made up of people from all walks of life, including social activities, professionals, intellectuals, who are seeking a non-party political movement to pursue political change. At the time of launching HURON many hurdles and hardships were imposed by the ruling regime, and they had to be overcome. Finally, on the 10th December 1988, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HURON was established under the leadership of Mr. Risikesh Shah, an eminent human rights activist. The founding members of HURON many of whom continue to be in leading roles in the movement of today, were victims of human rights violations including torture and periods of imprisonment during the movement for the restoration of democracy in early 1990.

Post 1990:

Its members throughout the country made a significant contribution; monitoring human rights abuse, mobilizing national opinion and initiating international media coverage. Once democracy was restored, HURON worked to ensure that many people injured, as a result of police brutality, received their rightful treatment. Later, during the drafting of the constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal at 1990, HURON advocated for the incorporation of the basic principles of human rights within the constitution.

Since the restoration of democracy in 1990, HURON has played an active role; in monitoring and advocating for the human rights, organizing demonstration, seminars and workshops, and producing publication. As part of ensuring the democratic process HURON co-chairs the National Election Observation Committee (NEOC).

Recent activities:

Currently, HURON is mainly working in the following areas: 1) Issues related to individual human rights abuses, such as cases of disappeared people as well as monitoring and investigations into human rights abuses and killings; 2) Lobbying the warring parties to stop human rights violations and (3) Promoting a peace movement with the themes of non-violence, human rights and social justice.

The peace movement was initiated on 19 February 2004, from Ghorahi the headquarters of Dang District which is symbolic as it was the place where the last peace talks broke down. HURON peace volunteers from 65 district chapters with the partner organizations assembled in Dang and joined peace movement and traveled in two groups to the most Maoists affected districts Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan and Pyuthan. The volunteers met ordinary people and the Maoists and disseminated the concern about human rights and importance of peace.

Role as mediator between the Maoists sister organizations and Government:

Another notable settlement occurred between the Government and two Maoist affiliated Student and Trade Union organizations. These settlements involved ending boycotts of schools, businesses and leading industrial concerns which these Maoist organizations had initiated recently. Part of this process also involved an understanding between the GROUP-4 Falk-Nepal security company (a Danish based enterprise) and the Maoist trade union organization. This understanding allowed the company to continue its business in Nepal. HURON took a leading role in bringing the respective parties together and achieving a successful outcome to the negotiations. These cases are helpful in indicating that it is possible to achieve settlement on some issues between the Government and the Maoists and that there is 'space' for civil society peace movements to operate.

Disappearances cases registered in 1030+ (from both sides)
  • Since 2001 people disappeared by state: 708 + By rebel: 322 +
  • Since 27 August 2003 (after the break down of ceasefire): 582 +
  • After 01 Feb, 2005 cases registered: 140 (From rebel: 71, From State: 69)
  • Malegu Commission, a committee to investigate the disappeared people, (constituted by govt. on 01 July, 2004 under initiation of HURON), so far, has made public of 477 cases of disappeared people. Official figure 446 + 48

Legal Battle:

  • HURON has filled writ petition in Supreme Court under Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for 433 disappeared people in the end of August 2004.
  • After PIL HURON filed cases in favor of 14 other missing people on habeas corpus and urging the Court to issue order to the government to stop illegal arrests in first week of Oct 2004.
  • In January, 19 cases out of 300 disappeared people made public, were filed on habeas corpus to free them from illegal detentions in January 2005.
  • HURON also filed writ petitions on habeas corpus for the political party and student leaders and got 30 people released after 01 Feb. 2005.
Witnesses are at risk in Nepal:

In Dhading, local headmaster and convener of Nepal Red Cross Societ Krishana Prasad Simkhada reported killed by the security force on 11 May 2005 who had assisted HURON team on the investigation of the killings of Maoists leaders Bharat Dhungana and Baikuntha Pokhrel in July 2004.

HURON opposed the Royal takeover and State of Emergency on 01 February 2005. It mainly concentrated its activities to tract the record of the arrests of the politicians and visited them where ever possible and accessible.

Publications related to State of Emergency:

After 01 February HURON published a booklet “Human Rights in the State of Emergency” which was intended to create awareness among the ordinary citizen and the implementing government authorities about non derogated rights at the State of Emergency as well.

Another publication was “Report on 50 days of Emergency” which related human rights situation in 50 days of emergence

Recent activities:

Currently, HURON is mainly working in the following areas: 1) Issues related to individual human rights abuses, such as cases of disappeared people as well as monitoring and investigations into human rights abuses and killings; 2) Lobbying the warring parties to stop human rights violations and (3) Promoting a peace movement with the themes of non-violence, human rights and social justice.

The peace movement was initiated on 19 February 2004, from Ghorahi the headquarters of Dang District which is symbolic as it was the place where the last peace talks broke down. HURON peace volunteers from 65 district chapters with the partner organizations assembled in Dang and joined peace movement and traveled in two groups to the most Maoists affected districts Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan and Pyuthan. The volunteers met ordinary people and the Maoists and disseminated the concern about human rights and importance of peace.

Role as mediator between the Maoists sister organizations and Government:

Another notable settlement occurred between the Government and two Maoist affiliated Student and Trade Union organizations. These settlements involved ending boycotts of schools, businesses and leading industrial concerns which these Maoist organizations had initiated recently. Part of this process also involved an understanding between the GROUP-4 Falk-Nepal security company (a Danish based enterprise) and the Maoist trade union organization. This understanding allowed the company to continue its business in Nepal. HURON took a leading role in bringing the respective parties together and achieving a successful outcome to the negotiations. These cases are helpful in indicating that it is possible to achieve settlement on some issues between the Government and the Maoists and that there is 'space' for civil society peace movements to operate.

Disappearances cases registered in 1030+ (from both sides)
  • Since 2001 people disappeared by state: 708 + By rebel: 322 +
  • Since 27 August 2003 (after the break down of ceasefire): 582 +
  • After 01 Feb, 2005 cases registered: 140 (From rebel: 71, From State: 69)
  • Malegu Commission, a committee to investigate the disappeared people, (constituted by govt. on 01 July, 2004 under initiation of HURON), so far, has made public of 477 cases of disappeared people. Official figure 446 + 48

Legal Battle:

  • HURON has filled writ petition in Supreme Court under Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for 433 disappeared people in the end of August 2004.
  • After PIL HURON filed cases in favor of 14 other missing people on habeas corpus and urging the Court to issue order to the government to stop illegal arrests in first week of Oct 2004.
  • In January, 19 cases out of 300 disappeared people made public, were filed on habeas corpus to free them from illegal detentions in January 2005.
  • HURON also filed writ petitions on habeas corpus for the political party and student leaders and got 30 people released after 01 Feb. 2005.
Witnesses are at risk in Nepal:

In Dhading, local headmaster and convener of Nepal Red Cross Society, Krishana Prasad Simkhada reported killed by the security force on 11 May 2005 who had assisted HURON team on the investigation of the killings of Maoists leaders Bharat Dhungana and Baikuntha Pokhrel in July 2004.

HURON opposed the Royal takeover and State of Emergency on 01 February 2005. It mainly concentrated its activities to tract the record of the arrests of the politicians and visited them where ever possible and accessible.

Publications related to State of Emergency:

After 01 February HURON published a booklet “Human Rights in the State of Emergency” which was intended to create awareness among the ordinary citizen and the implementing government authorities about non derogated rights at the State of Emergency as well.

Another publication was “Report on 50 days of Emergency” which related human rights situation in 50 days of emergency.

HURON Stand on Royal takeover:

HURON has officially opposed the 01 February Royal takeover by the King. This has been reiterated at the National Convention of HURON in Nepalganj with the participation of more than 300 delegates from 65 district /sub district chapters held on 22 and 23 April, 2005 by passing a 17 point resolution as "Nepalganj D eclaration". One of the resolutions (second point of declaration) states that The Royal takeover on 01 February 2005 is a move against the values and principles of democracy and has prevented in the system of protecting and promoting human rights in the country. The conference strongly demanded for the immediate restoration of rule of law and fully functioning democracy in the country.

Work done for the release of Krishna Pahadi and why was he arrested?
  • As soon as Krishna Pahadi was arrested HURON issues an appeal to the government for his unconditional and immediate release.
  • A HURON team met Home Minister and Home Secretary and urged for his unconditional and immediate release.
  • HURON then President met him several times while he was in detention and updated its efforts.
  • A signature campaign for his release was launched in one its interaction program and submitted to the government before his release on June.

The reasons for his arrest

We believe that he was arrested because government perceived his freedom a biggest threat to the present regime headed by the King. Secondly, the strategy of the government to detain him for a longer period of time was to send signals to others that the government was tuff and uncompromising.

Rights based approach on development:

This approach will help the country to establish human rights culture in the society and should be a continued process embedded in all development activities.

Perception regarding the Maoists and the government:

Both the warring parties are violating international human rights and humanitarian laws. Civilians are caught in between the warring forces and their conducts are inhuman. They are equally responsible to project Nepal as one the worst countries to record human rights violations.

Civilians caught between the two warring parties

Pushpa Lal Dhakal, a farmer and a resident of Gauradaha VDC-7 of Jhapa district was forced to serve food to Maoist cadre when they entered his house one evening. The next day security personnel came and asked him why he had served food to the Maoists. He told them: “Just so that I could live one more day”. He is actually one of the lucky people to survive such an encounter with the security forces. After this incident, he was reported as having 'disappeared' for several months. He was finally located in Jhapa jail. He is now serving a sentence under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA).

In similar situation, Rama Adhikary of Kamatoli Bazaar Tangandubba VDC 07, of Jhapa was killed by the security force on 3 rd July 2005 at 5.00 am in her own house.

On a daily basis there are incidents of torture, extra judicial executions, disappearances, child recruitment into the Maoist army, extortion and abduction. These abuses are committed by both Government and Maoist forces and have had a severe impact on the civilian population making their lives miserable.

In rural areas many people have been forced to leave their homes. The numbers of internally displaced people are also increasing day by day. Many people also migrate to other countries in order to escape the fear of torture and death from both warring parties. In reality people have experienced unprecedented hardships, torture and unlawful killing.

Organizational Structure:

Membership of HURON is open to all Nepalese citizens over the age of 16 years. HURON has thousands of individual members, above 3000 active members and about 200 life members in 65 Districts.

At district level there are local chapters at Village Development Committee (VDC) or Municipality levels. Since, the statute amendment in 2005 there is a provision in the statute to constitute human rights groups (HRGs) especially intended to extend its memberships in schools, campuses and local communities. Each District Chapter are entitled to send its representatives to the National Council and National Convention which is empowered to pass the policy, budget, plan of action and elect new president and members. The President and five regional coordinators (who are also central members) of the Central Executive Committee are elected every three years at the National Convention. The Central Executive Committee will execute the policy and decisions made by the National Council and Convention held each year and at the interval of three years respectively. The members of the National Convention includes the Central Executive Committee, founder members, active members and delegates from the District Chapter Where as the members of National Council are representatives of the District Committee, Central Executive members and founder members. The president is responsible for appointing other members (according to the statues; central executive members should not exceed 21 members which should include 25 percent women) to the Central Executive Committee.

Additionally, there is a Central Advisory Committee comprising of five people who are, generally, well-known human rights activists and intellectuals who have been made significant contribution to the cause of human rights and democracy in the country.

OUTPUTS (2004-2005):

Role as a mediator for;
  • Notable settlement between the Government and Maoist affiliated Student organization ending the closer of schools country-wide.
  • Settlement between the government and Trade Union organization of the Maoists ending the closer of industries and business houses. /
  • Bringing an understanding between the GROUP-4 Falk-Nepal security company (a Danish based enterprise) and the Maoist trade union organization. Maoists had earlier issued an order to close down the security company.
  • Formation of Malegu Commission to resolve the issue of disappearances.
Release of illegal detainees:
  • More than 150 disappeared persons registered in HURON whereabouts were located.
  • 30 student leaders were released by the court through the writ petition on habeas corpus filed.
Reports produced:
  • Investigation reports on the killings of the unarmed people by security force produced.
  • Investigation reports on the atrocities committed by Maoists produced.
  • Report on “50 days of Emergency” produced.
  • Regular annual publication on 10 December and quarterly magazine produced.
  • Reports on investigation of the atrocities conducted by both parties produced and made public.
Partnerships in peace movement and human rights:
  • 22 partner organizations formed to launch peace movement.
  • Established partnership with an international NGO to work human rights globally.
  • Established working relation with Amnesty International and UN on human rights violations.

Reference of peace movement:

What is peace movement?
Peace Movement for Non-violence, Rights and Social Justice:

Social Political and Economic condition of the country is deteriorating every day. The country is severely engulfed in flames of war and peoples are loosing their lives by the incidents of violence terror and destructions resulting from the Maoist insurgency and counter-insurgency operations made by the security forces of the State.

So, to get rid from these heinous activities, a 'Peace Movement' with the wide participation of the peoples of civil societies was urgently felt needed to raise the voice of people for peace. Keeping this in mind, Human Rights Organisation of Nepal (HURON) initiated a peace movement with the theme of Non-violence, Rights and Social justice from Ghorahi headquarter of Dang district (the district where the last peace talk broke) beginning from 19th February 2004. This peace movement was envisaged to bring a wave of feeling of peace in the mind of people and bring the warring parties on a table.

The goals of the Peace Movement are
  • To bring a change of attitudes in the people and promote awareness to protest all forms of violence in the daily lives of individuals, families and society.
  • To educate individuals, families, community groups, education institutions, business community and health sector on the importance of both individual and collective efforts to promote peace and non violence culture in the society.
  • To promote alternatives to the behavior of violence and destruction and involve the people of the community, hopefully enabling them with the renewed sense of empowerment and tools to continue in the direction of change and a zero tolerance to all forms of violence and abuse.
  • Establish meaningful permanent peace in the country.

This is an ongoing movement and will end when common people will start to feel secured and see the dawn of peace in the nation.

Staff members:

There are five staff members in the central office working full time who are supported by volunteers.

Networking national and international:
  • HURON has 68 district chapters in 65 districts around the country. The respective chapters have also established local networking within the human rights organizations and civil society organization to work more effectively in this difficult period.
  • Under the initiation of HURON, a coalition of 22 partner organizations was formed, from among the civil society organizations, to launch peace movement.
  • Established partnership with an international NGO to lobby and work on human rights issue globally.
  • Established working relation with Amnesty International and UN on human rights violations.
  • HURON initiated to establish unity among human rights organizations of Nepal and called a first meeting on 08 July 2005.

Source of fund:

Membership fees, especially from life membership and donations from the individuals, have been the main source of HURON's income. Currently, nominal institutional support to run the “Urgent Action Unit” is provided by our international partner organization i.e. Agir Ensembble pour les Droits de l’ Homme (Working Together for Human Rights), France

Short term and long term plan:

The short term plan of the organization is to reduce human rights violations and establish peace in the country whereas the long term goal of this organization is to build a culture of human rights and democracy in the country.