Statement in support to Mandira Sharma
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT TO MANDIRA SHARMA
Our serious attention has been drawn towards the allegations leveled against our member organization, Advocacy Forum Nepal (AF), its Executive Director, Ms. Mandira Sharma, who is also the elected treasurer of our Federation.
It was reported that ex-staff members of AF had filed complained that there were financial irregularities in the organization and Mandira Sharma is misusing the power for the personal financial gain from the organization. The allegation, which was disseminated widely, event posted in our face book was found to be baseless. Though from the face of the allegations, one would tell the motive behind it, but it was important for AF to clarify the doubts it may have been created. We would like to report that our member organization, AF extended all its support to do the thorough investigation on all the aspects of the allegations.
The Social Welfare Council, a government organization that monitors the non-governmental organizations in Nepal, formed an investigation team to probe into a complaint filed by some ex-staff members claiming financial irregularities in the organization. In its report, the team concluded that neither there was any evidence of such irregularities nor the Executive Director was found to have abused her authority for personal financial gains. The complaint was filed with an obvious intention to avenge their dismissal and the allegation of embezzlement was baseless
The finding of the investigation team confirms the reports of independent auditors, reports of regular donor audits and the independent evaluation report of projects/programs that The AF has been implementing. The AF has been recognized as one of the best human rights organizations not only in Nepal but in the region.
We are aware of the threats and intimidation that Ms Mandira Sharma and other personnel of AF have been receiving for their work against impunity. We are also aware of some infiltration in the organizations and that leading to the leaking of some critical cases that AF has been taking up both nationally and internationally.
Unfortunately, many human rights defender and human rights organizations who are effective in their strategies and fight against impunity have to pay the highest price. They have been the target of all kinds of pressures, intimidations, threats and character assassination.
We lost our former Chairperson for his fight for justice in Indonesia. We lost Aasia Jeelani for her commitment to serve the poor, the downtrodden and the violated in her beloved paradise of Kashmir. Many have been made to disappear. A number of our colleagues live under tremendous psychological pressures from the constant threats and intimidation. We want all your moral support to maintain the morale of these defenders working on the ground high.
MUGIYANTO MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO