Access to Justice, a basic principle of rule of law, is a fundamental right of every citizen. Justice is every person’s indispensable need and no one can be abstained or objected from seeking justice or exercising their rights for justice. Law has stressed the right of equal access to justice to every citizen, including vulnerable and marginalized groups. Every nation should deliver justice in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner. Access to justice comprises of legal awareness, legal protection, adjudication, legal aid, enforcement and civil society oversight. It supports peace by focusing its citizens into providing remedy for resolving personal and political issues and disputes. It is a prime importance for each concerned bodies of the state to continue their effort into making dispute resolution process easy, affordable, prompt and accessible to every citizen, especially for those who cannot have access to justice due to physical, mental, social and financial reasons.
The Constitution of Nepal on its Article 20 has ensured rights relating to justice as a fundamental right of people. For an effective and efficient accessibility of justice to its citizens, Nepal has welcomed many national laws as well as international laws, viz UDHR, ICCPR, ICPPED etc. in order to keep justice equal and impartial to everyone.
The post conflict era of Nepal after a decade long armed conflict between Government of Nepal and the then Communist Party (CPN Maoist) introduced various transitional justice mechanism for accessing justice to the conflict victims. Two separate commissions namely, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Person (CIEDP) were established which records complaints from conflict victims. TRC Act and Rules, CIEDP Rules were promulgated for access to transitional justice. These commissions and related laws were established with an aim to provide reparation to the conflict victims. Reparation, which not only refers to compensation but also restitution, rehabilitation, guarantees of non- recurrence and satisfaction, is an important part of transitional justice as it serves as a medium for comprehending past violation and the responsibility of the state for the harm the victims have suffered. Although the commissions and laws were made for conflict victims, no justice has been served so far. Repeated grant of amnesty and lack of investigation have consequently delayed in providing reparation and compensation to conflict victims. The presence of reparation provision in the Acts and Regulation provided a positive attitude towards the conflict victims, nonetheless, the non- implementation of the said provision and delay in the process of reparation holds loss in faith for the justice for conflict victims. Therefore, the Government of Nepal should be able to comprehend the problem of conflict victim and prompt the reparation process for prejudice justice.
FWLD has conducted various programs in Banke, Kailali, Dang and Bardiya on a regular basis in order to strengthen the effectiveness, inclusivity and accountability of the formal justice sector in responding to the needs of the Nepalese people, including vulnerable and marginalized groups. FWLD has engaged in Transitional Justice projects to ensure awareness to the conflict victims as well as the concerned parties. FWLD has managed to conduct District Level and Community Level Dialogue Programs. Similarly, advocacy meetings have been conducted with local government as well as in national level. FWLD has engaged itself in follow up meetings to make government, stakeholders, and quasi-judicial bodies responsive and attentive regarding the emerging issues of victims.
FWLD has continuously been providing legal counseling to people all over Nepal. Along with that FWLD has been providing various legal services to people as well. Lawyers have been sent and made engaged in every Province of Nepal to support victims and people with issues of gender based violence, legal identity etc. FWLD has continuously provided its legal counseling services as legal helpline service through various communicable mediums such as telephone and email during the pandemic COVID-19. Legal counseling and services have been provided even in the times of lockdown and prohibited orders. FWLD has also formed a Google Form, both in English and Nepali, for easy access to seek legal counseling.