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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Equality is at the core of the constitution: Minister for Foreign Affairs

Posted by Anup Baral September 25, 2016 :
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, said the promulgation of constitution on September 20 last year represented a turning point in Nepal’s constitutional and political history. In his key note speech to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today, Minister Mahat maintained that the Constitution of Nepal aims to institutionalize inclusive and democratic polity and uphold pluralism, the rule of law, representative and accountable government, social and economic justice and universally accepted human rights. "Equality is at the core of the constitution," Minister Mahat assured, adding, "The state is obliged to take special measures to protect the most marginalized and under-represented sections of society and look after their wellbeing." He argued the Nepal's constitution was not a rigid document rather a 'living and dynamic document' capable of addressing any remaining or new issues within its framework. He said the two amendments that were made within months of its promulgation have amply proven its dynamism. During the address, Minister Mahat informed the UNGA of Nepal Government's current engagement in dialogue with concerned political parties to find out an acceptable solution to some of the issues where differences have persisted. He stressed that the constitution guaranteed equal participation and incorporated principle of proportional representation of the women, indigenous nationalities, Madheshis, Dalits and other marginalized groups in elected and other organs of the state structure. He also expressed Nepal's strong commitment to gender equality and empowerment of women. Minister Mahat said Nepal was now at a crucial phase of of constitution implementation and underlined the ultimate goals to consolidate peace, stability and bring about prosperity in the country. "Inclusive economic growth and development is important to sustain political gains," he said, adding "The constitution provides a framework to pursue these objectives." He further added that democratic elections at all three tiers of the federal set up will have to be completed within February 2018 and shared the government's resolve in overseeing the task. The task of completing remaining issues of peace process, reconstruction and rebuilding of the earthquake ravaged areas, and attaining inclusive prosperity and development constitute our top priorities, he said Minister Mahat shared confidence that Nepal's friends in the international community would 'stand by us in our efforts to consolidate strong foundation for a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous Nepal'. "As we embark on the effective implementation of the constitution and undertaking of the vital tasks of socio-economic transformation of Nepal, good will, solidarity and support from the international community become all the more important," Mahat said. Nepal committed to UN even stronger During the address to the 71st UNGA session, Foreign Minister Mahat noted that sixty years down the road after becoming a member Nepal's commitment to the United Nations have become even stronger. "The principles of the UN Charter remain at the core of Nepal’s foreign policy," he said. "As much as United Nations has contributed to our development endeavors and lately to the peace process, Nepal has significantly contributed to the United Nations in fulfilling its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security," he added. Minister Mahat underlined Nepal's steadfast commitment to fulfil the obligations in the UN peace-keeping operations and readiness to provide additional troops and civilians. He added that Nepal is proud to be part of the 'flagship contribution' and shared Nepal's unflinching commitment to the cause of international peace and security. "Nepal’s engagement in the peace keeping operations immediately after three years of our joining the United Nations speaks volumes of our unflinching commitment to the cause of international peace and security," Minister Mahat confided, adding "Our troops have served in various challenging peacekeeping missions with high degree of professionalism, commitment and devotion." The Minister also took the opportunity to note that seventy-three of Nepali soldiers have sacrificed their lives in line of duty to the supreme cause of peace. Minister Mahat argued that all troop contributing countries must be given fair opportunities to serve in leadership positions both in the field and at the headquarters commensurate with their level and length of contribution. "We must acknowledge that UN system has a leading role to play in global governance," Minister Mahat said, adding "An equal emphasis must be laid on all three pillars of the United Nations: development, peace and security, and human rights." He said a reform in the United Nations must reflect the vastly transformed political reality of the 21st century. "Our vision for sustainable peace and just world order cannot be realized without a comprehensive reform in the UN system, including the reform of the Security Council," he said. Furthermore, he underlined Nepal's strong belief in a more representative, inclusive and accountable UN. Poverty reduction and SDG inseperable On a different note, Minister Mahat said that the secure foundation of the world peace rests on wellbeing of the people across the global, thus poverty reduction and sustainable development are inseparable. He added that the world cannot imagine a peaceful, prosperous and secure society when millions of people are living in poverty. He urged all member states and our development partners to move beyond rhetoric and commence concrete actions without losing time, energy and zeal. Stating that SDGs can only be realized if sound development policies and frameworks are backed by capable institutional framework, adequate resources, and innovative methods of implementation, Minister Mahat shared his desire to see progress in all pillars of resources- ODA, trade, FDI, technology and debt relief – to ensure smooth implementation of SDG agenda. Minister Mahat said Nepal's commitment to SDGs was informed by the success rate in MDGs while underlining Nepal's impressive performance on the Millennium Development Goals in midst of multiple challenges. "We were able to halve the proportion of people living in poverty," the Foreign Minister pointed out adding, "We were also able to significantly reduce the maternal and infant mortality rates." Minister Mahat added that SDG agenda is now a part of our national development plans and programs and vowed to implement it with utmost priority. Minister Mahat flays terrorism in all its forms At the 71st session of the UNGA, Foreign Minister Mahat said that Nepal unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. "The growing terrorist activities in our own region and in many parts of the world are a matter of serious concern for all of us," he stated terming 'terrorism is a serious threat to human quest to live in harmony, peace and dignity'. He noted the failure of the international community to agree on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism and called it highly frustrating. "We call upon the international community to muster much needed political will to accomplish this agenda," he added further. Minister Mahat emphasized that as the birth place of Lord Buddha, Nepal, believes that meaningful exchanges and dialogues among civilizations would help embed the values, contributing eventually to the world peace. Moreover, Minister Mahat stressed on the central role of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council in addressing the intensity of the non-traditional security threats and the traditional sources of threats and challenges. "The modes and intensity of non-traditional security threats, such as terrorism, transnational crimes, ethnic tensions and intra-state conflicts, and violent extremism have increased manifold," Minister Mahat noted, adding, "Abuse of innovation in information and communications technology by criminal elements has further engendered vulnerability of societies." Nepal resolute in its commitment to human rights Minister Mahat maintained that Nepal’s commitment to human rights and fundamental freedom is total and unwavering. He said core international human rights instruments have found 'eloquent expression in Nepal’s newly promulgated constitution'. "The new constitution of Nepal, which was the result of eight years of deliberation to ensure participatory, transparent and inclusive processes, contains impressive list of human rights and constitute adequate remedial measures," he said. Minister Mahat held that Nepal’s home-grown peace process recognizes transitional justice as its key component. He added further that Nepal Government remains committed to take appropriate measures to address issues surrounding transitional justice process in line with our international commitment and the ground realities of establishing sustained peace. He added that human rights must not be used as tools to serve hidden political objectives. "All human rights, including the right to development, must receive equal priority and be pursued even-handedly," he said, adding "The salient features of non-selectivity, universality, indivisibility and objectivity must be upheld in all circumstances." Minister Mahat calls for protection of migrant workers rights Minister Mahat said Nepal as a source country of over three million migrant workers, calls for concerted efforts at the national, regional and international levels to ensure welfare and protection of the rights and well being of the migrant workers. Robustly implement agreements for benefit of LDCs and LLDCs Foreign Minister Mahat renewed call for robust implementation of internationally agreed commitments, including those contained in the Istanbul Program of Action, Vienna Programme of Action, Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and Sendai Framework are critically important to enable LDCs and LLDCs to emerge from the state of poverty and underdevelopment. International financial, trading and monetary systems thus must be made responsive to their needs and concerns, he added. Nepal feeling the heat of Climate Change Minister Mahat also briefed the UNGA on climate change impacts faced by Nepal, a Himalayan country. He said Nepal faces challenges from the melting glaciers, flash floods, and outburst of glacial lakes. "We believe that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change adopted last year reflects a rare commitment of international community to make a difference," he said pledging Nepal support to its early entry into force. Minister Mahat further argued that special attention must be given to the climate vulnerable countries, particularly mountainous countries, in the provisioning of resources and transfer of technology for capacity building and adaptation. RSS

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