Human Rights Day Observed in Nepal
Written by Dr. Robert S. Kittel, Director of Education, UPF-Asia; Photo-journalist, Segye-Ilbo
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Gorkha, Nepal - In commemoration of International Human Rights Day, December 10, UPF-Nepal invited officials, educators, and community leaders in the Gorkha District to a seminar about developments in Nepal's transition from a monarchy to a constitutional republic.
UPF-Gorkha's district peace council organized this educational program for local leaders. In attendance were 100 representatives of all political parties in the district, government officials, media representatives, teachers, community leaders, business leaders, civil-society leaders, and people from different walks of life participated in the program.
Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, Dr. Robert S. Kittel, and other UPF-Nepal leaders travelled safely the 140 km trip to Gorhka, a four-hour journey, and received a warm welcome by the district Peace Council leaders. The program started at 3:00 pm in Hotel Bisauni. Mr. Dhiraj Bahadur Maskey, coordinator of district, chaired the program, and Senior Medical Doctor Raja Ram Shrestha delivered welcome remarks.
President of UPF-Nepal and Member of the Constituent Assembly, Hon. Dhakal served as the Chief Guest. He spoke about the challenges Nepal is facing during its transition period. After a decade-long civil war between Maoist forces and the government culminating in weeks of mass protest, a peace agreement was signed in 2005. A Constituent Assembly was elected in 2008, the king abdicated, and a federal republic was born. However, struggles between different parties have deadlocked the Constituent Assembly, and the deadline for drafting a constitution has been repeatedly extended.
He described the peace process and work for reconciliation among the political parties, stating that the peace process will be achieved only through a win-win situation between the offenders and the offended. As a case study, he talked about the reconciliation among leaders in South Africa and gave several examples from the teachings of UPF Founder Father Sun Myung Moon that are relevant to Nepal's peace process.
Dr. Kittel gave a presentation on good governance. He emphasized that peace begins from the family and that the origin of human rights and good governance is a good family. Moreover, all the fundamental solutions to humankind’s greatest challenges are based on the unity of mind and body and harmonious relationships between man and woman. He reminded everyone in the audience that to be a leader is to be a public servant and that living for the greater public purpose should be the highest priority of one's life.
The wise words of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan were read: “The right to development is the measure of the respect of all other human rights. That should be our aim: a situation in which all individuals are enabled to maximize their potential, and to contribute to the evolution of society as a whole."
Mr. Santosh Kumar Paudel, Secretary General of UPF-Nepal, highlighted the current activities of UPF-Nepal and its accomplishments during the year 2011. He also reported that UPF-Nepal is the most active NGO in support of Nepal’s peace process. In all 75 districts of the nation, UPF-Nepal's Ambassadors for Peace are doing grass-roots work, forming district chapters, and establishing district Peace Councils to help accomplish UPF’s vision of a world of peace in which everyone can live in freedom, harmony, cooperation, and prosperity. He encouraged all Ambassadors for Peace and leaders to take a step forward and work hand in hand during the coming year. Mr. Paudel also expressed his heartfelt thanks to everyone who made invaluable contributions to the peace process of Nepal.
On this 63rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, people were reminded of the words of the Iranian woman Mahnaz Afkhami, a leading proponent of women's rights in the Islamic world: “In the future, human rights will be increasingly a universal criterion for designing ethical systems.”
Hon. Dhakal and Dr. Kittel gave Ambassador for Peace certificates to Mr. Kamal Prasad Bhattarai, Chief District Officer of Gorkha, and Mrs. Manju Aryal, District coordinator of Amnesty International. Mr. Bhattarai thanked UPF for the certificate and reaffirmed his commitment to a lifetime of public service. Ambassador for Peace Dr. Narayan Sangraula gave congratulatory remarks to the new Ambassadors for Peace and urged each of them to take action and contribute to building a peaceful and prosperous Nepal.
The seminar concluded with a vote of thanks by the Chairman of program, Mr. Maskey. Tea and snacks were served, giving everyone opportunities for interaction after the program.
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