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Jitman Basnet

Sometimes there is little I can do, but it makes me feel proud if I save even one life from that daily hell.

Jitman Basnet, a human rights lawyer and journalist, has been working for human rights and transitional justice for 15 years in Nepal. As a result of his work, against violence and destructive activities during the countries civil war, he was kidnapped by the Maoist rebels in 2002 for one day and tortured. In 2004, he was illegally arrested by the Royal Nepal Army because of his work for human rights. He was detained incommunicado for 258 days and subjected to torture. In 2007 after return from exile, Mr. Basnet founded Lawyers’ Forum for Human Rights (LAFHUR), a pro-bono lawyers’ network, working in the field of transitional justice. He has served as Secretary General ever since. LAFHUR provides free legal service to the victims of human rights violations, including women, children and the poor who do not have access to justice. After speaking out about the importance of an effective Truth and Reconciliation Commission and against immunity for war crimes at an UN-sponsored conference in Nepal in the summer of 2011, Jitman received death threats and an attempted attack and was forced to leave Nepal in July 2011. He continues to reside in the US, sponsored by Peace Brigades International, and is working on a number of special advocacy and research projects. He has spoken at multiple forums across the US, including universities, US Congress, US Institute for Peace, United Nations, and Kiwanis Club events. Jitman has received Universal Human Rights Award in 2007 for his outstanding work for human rights works and justice. In 2009, he was awarded with Karmaveer Award by the Indian Confederation of NGO's and nominated by Peace Brigades International in 2011 for ‘American Bar Association International Lawyer at Risk Human Rights Award’.