For residents of Haldekalika VDC in Nuwakot district, earthquake relief was late in coming. Even five months after the April 2015 earthquake, the village’s 995 families had yet to receive relief packages from the government due to a dispute between the political parties active in the region.
The political parties in the area were divided on who exactly constituted ‘victims’. While some parties insisted on the inclusion of some names on the list, others refused, and vice-versa. It was a political morass that was only further marginalising the victims of the disaster.
When the residents heard of the mobile human rights clinics run by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with support by UNDP, they appealed for help. Because the situation was contentious and involved a large number of actors, the clinic team reached out to the political parties, the Chief District Officer, the VDC Secretary and members of the Disaster Management Committee. An agreement was reached within days.
Each of the 995 families received victim identity cards and compensation worth Rs 20,000 (Rs 15,000 for the construction of a temporary shelter and Rs 5,000 for the management of an emergency shelter). A total 3,980 (1,880 males and 2,100 females) people benefitted from this intervention.
This process brought to light the vulnerabilities of people who suffer through a disaster who may also suffer further infractions on their rights. It also highlighted the deep differences between political parties at the local level. The mobile clinic, thus, concluded that issues of human rights need to be impressed upon these parties, which can be done by working with community-level organisations.
The Human Rights Mobile Clinic is an innovative programme started by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with support from UNDP, where small teams of rights personnel travel to hard-to-reach areas to monitor and advocate for the upholding of human rights for all. The clinics have provided crucial human rights advice and information to over 50,000 people in 14 districts badly affected by the earthquake.