An interaction program, “Open Dialogue Forum on Current State of Civil Society in Nepal” was organized by Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative HAMI at Yalamaya Kendra, Lalitpur on August 25, 2017. Representatives and members from different federations, networks, alliances and INGOs were present in the program. It was organized in the pretext of upcoming policies concerned with demanding meaningful participation in the policy formation process and ensuring fundamental constitutional right to freedom of association and expression while regulating CSOs in Nepal.
The program aimed to make a common position with CSOs and INGOs of Nepal identifying current status of CSOs in Nepal. It was also concerned with preparing for the next action plans aiming to tackle the shrinking space of CSOs.
Dr. Padma Prasad Khatiwada presented a key note on “Right to Freedom of Association and Expression” in the program. His presentation concentrated on the hot issue of “Discounting Human Rights” by the State by introducing unconstitutional directives aiming to restrict CSOs and their mobilization. He emphasized on “Nothing about us without us” at a time the government is unilaterally developing three bills: Organizational Registration, Social Welfare and Development Act, Local Government Regulation Act without making meaningful participation from CSOs of Nepal that have right for participation.
Some notable guests of the program were Dr. Shibesh Chandra Regmi, Chairperson, AIN, Pratyush Wanta, Martin Chautari, Kanak Mani Dixit, Human Right Activist. All the guests asserted for the urgent need collective action against the move; in which, rights of the CSOs have been curved going against the constitutional provisions.
The program culminated with the decisions on taking collective action from all the civil society organizations against the move taken by the government regarding CSOs mobilization by introducing different regulations or guidelines. Common actions included immediate delegation team to Social Welfare Council; filing a case at the Supreme Court against government’s move to for policies without making meaningful participation of CSOs; and carry out meaningful interactions with policy makers as a mark of pressurizing them for making laws based on the constitutional provision, Right to Freedom of Association and Expression.