An Open Letter in Solidarity with Mohna Ansari

We would like to draw your serious concern over a defamatory article written against Hon. Member of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mohna Ansari. Mr. Kosh Raj Neupane, an ex-employee of NHRC, wrote this article yesterday in an online news portal operating from his home district, Jhapa. He has recently resigned after he came to know that he will face punishment by the institution over a corruption charge.

Below is the English translation of the article written by Kosh Raj Neupane in Nepali language:

Mohna Ansari’s maneuvering in National Human Rights Commission

Koshraj Neupane

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is an institution formed under the constitution. Its expenditure is borne by the government. If government’s assistance is inadequate, the NHRC seeks foreign assistance to run its programmes.

The NHRC is a commotion institution which is being run with the taxpayers’ money. This is what the Paris Principle means and this is what we mean by Paris Principle. But NHRC member Mohna Ansari and some foreigners have the totally different understanding of Paris Principle wherefore the NHRC has been reduced to a private company. And this company is being led by Mohna Ansari and its accountants are Secretary Bed Bhattarai and some government employees who are close to them.  There are many reasons to prove this claim which will be brought for discussion in the coming days but for now, let’s take one example- a documentary produced by  SDC  or the Swiss government. The title of the documentary is ‘Mohna’s Commitment to Justice, An SDC Contribution to human rights in Nepal.’  The producer of the documentary is Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).  One can easily Google and watch this video. The video begins with the story of Mohna’s childhood and her current responsibility at the NHRC. Shame on those who have acted in the video and the producer!

The title speaks one thing but the video glorifies Mohna. The title of the documentary signifies Swiss Government’s assistance in Nepal’s human rights sector but the video glorifies Mohna. We need to discuss whether or not this misuse of public fund is a corruption and an act of morality.

Mohna is a member of the NHRC which is led by Anup Raj Sharma. There are four other commissioners. Everybody fulfills their responsibility there. The NHRC might have signed agreements with the foreigners but the work mentioned in the agreements is completed by the NHRC Chair and members collectively.  But what did the Swiss Government and Mohna’s lieutenants intend to achieve by showing the story of Mohna’s childhood? Is this an attempt to get a huge prize? Or is this an attempt to get another attractive job after the retirement from the NHRC? Even if Ansari has her personal ambitions, neither she nor her employees have the liberty to betray Nepali people. I came to know from some honest employees of the government about this video. It’s been a long time since the video was made public but NHRC Chair Sharma has not mustered the courage to question the producers of the video and those who have acted in the video. It is a mystery that why other commissioners are also keeping mum on the matter. Even the civil society is keeping mum on the privatization of the NHRC. There are eulogies of Mohna in all the videos and scripts of the sentences used in the video. The documentary contains footages of Mohna monitoring the human rights situation in the aftermath of the (2015) earthquake. The documentary shows Mohna visiting earthquake affected people’s houses but those footages appear to be those of immature actors. Her sensitivity is reflected by the footages that show she is smiling when she is talking to earthquake affected people.  Videos were shot at chief district offices only for the dramatic effect which shows artificialness. This also shows an attempt to get publicity.  A person who works for the NHRC like prestigious body and a member who is also the Spokesperson of the Commission does not know the basic codes for monitoring. Is this moral and a thing constituent with her post to use people, who are yet to get their human rights, in such a video to suit her interests? Other commissioners had also done a lot of things to ameliorate the plights of the quake-affected victims but why did the foreigners not take into account their work and why did Mohna and the company not make foreigners understand the work of other commissioners?

Why has the documentary kept mum about the mobile human rights desks that were created by Prakash Osti in 14 districts? Why is there no mention of Sudip Pathak and Govinda Sharma Paudyal who monitored in various places? The reasons are obvious: the documentary was made with a vested interest. There is also mention in the documentary of movements that were launched in Terai Madhes. Serious human rights violations were committed during the movements launched before and after the constitution was promulgated. Even the NHRC report states that Nepal Police and Armed Police Force used excessive force and killed protesters and violated human rights. Similarly, the NHRC reports states that agitating forces too brutally killed security personnel, set properties on fire and vandalized properties.

But Mohna and her employees have shot videos only to show the human rights violation committed by the security personnel. In the course of recording the incident, information was collected from an Advocate’s office who supported the movement. Mohna and her employees do not seem to have recorded statements of independent human rights activists and civil society members. Not only this, the documentary contains the video of Mohna delivering the speech at the Human Rights Council in Geneva where she says that only security personnel violated people’s human rights. In that meeting, NHRC secretary Bed Bhattarai appears to have acted as a witness. Nobody should be spared for Human rights violation. I pay my heartfelt homage to all those who were killed by the security personnel. Those incidents must be probed but Mohna’s biased presentation in the country and abroad in which she shows only the security personnel committed human rights violation must also be condemned. Mohna who toured foreign countries with the foreign donors’ money forgot the Tikapur incident where eight police personnel and one child was brutally killed. She did not hear the scream of the families of those who were killed in Tikapur incident. She did not remember brutal killing of APF member Thaman BK. Therefore, the work of Mohan and Secretary Bed Bhattarai should be condemned. In the same video NHRC Chair Anup Raj Sharma has said that the commission is an independent and impartial body but he has kept mum on his colleague’s biased work. What is the reason that Mohna is getting this much concession? Has this increased the dignity of the commission? NHRC Chair Anup Raj and other Commissioners should respond to these questions to let the public know about these things because the NHRC which is an independent body is answerable to the public. Civil society, political parties, and the Parliament which will be formed after the elections will have to discuss Mohna’s wrong activities.

Our Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry should show serious concern towards the misuse of millions of rupees by the foreigners who take up a job in Nepal but invest millions of Rupees in Mohna like people.  This has happened also because the inefficient person was appointed to a constitutional body.

Therefore, political parties, civil society, and media should publicly debate about the appointment of the constitutional bodies. Parliamentary hearing appears to be eyewash.

Otherwise, people like Mohna who are expert in acting will be appointed in key posts of the state, who transforms public institution into private institutions. 

(The author is a an advocate and a human rights activist)


What is more surprising and serious matter is, Subodh Pyakurel of INSEC shared this article with the threatening language against Ms. Ansari.  Below is the screenshot of his Facebook status, with English translation.


English Translation:

Everything from designation to responsibility become meaningless when donor becomes dearer than the country and one’s caste/ethnicity becomes dearer than the people of the country.  The people who are expected to seek justice for all are merely concerned about their own self-interests and such people are everywhere. But the truth will come out sooner or later and they will face consequence too. There is a limit of people’s patience.

The author Neupane who has written this article has a strong family linkage in the UML senior leadership and also harbors close association with Mr. Subodh Raj Pyakurel, who shared his article in the social media with intimidating post against Ms. Ansari.  Mr. Pyakurel often targets and use defamation tactics against human rights defenders and lawyers from the marginalized community, who raise voices for social justice and equality in Nepal.  This is an instance of their habitual activities, using online portal and social media, to defame emerging activists in the rights sector, who belongs to the marginalized community with different political thoughts. It appears as if they are practicing the syndicate of human rights in Nepal.

It is high time civil society, media and international communities, including human rights community, must speak against such a practice to prevent the public defamation against her and her contribution to human rights fulfillment in Nepal. This is also question on the question of credibility of the constitutional body, which has of late contributed to ensure state accountability for human rights in Nepal.

Please watch the video produced by SDC, which the article mentions. There is nothing wrong in substance in the video as claimed in the article.

We appeal the international community to take a note of this particular intimidation tactic used by Mr. Pyakurel and also, humbly request Mr. Pyakurel to unconditionally apologize to Ms. Ansari for his derogatory language towards her and refrain from using such intimidation tactics in future.