Nepal government has failed in delivering truth and justice, conflict victims report to the Human Rights Council
Over three dozen organisations advocating for justice to the victims of the decade-long conflict have reported to the Human Rights Council, saying that the Nepal government has failed in delivering truth, justice, reparation and institutional reform
Over three dozen organisations advocating for justice to the victims of the decade-long conflict have reported to the Human Rights Council, saying that the Nepal government has failed in delivering truth, justice, reparation and institutional reform.
In their joint report submitted to the council for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) slated for January next year, as many as 39 organisations of the victims said they are still desperately waiting for truth, justice and reparations even though the armed conflict ended in 2006.
The victims’ groups submitted their joint report three days after 440 non-government organisations presented their joint report, which said Nepal has not fully implemented a single, among 19 recommendations, made during the previous UPR in 2015.
The 39 organisations of the victims have said they felt and witnessed that the Nepal government continues to remain unwilling to implement the recommendations made in the last UPR.
“We value the upcoming UPR of Nepal as a significant opportunity to inform the world community about the long-standing denial of our right to effective remedy guaranteed under the international law and our own Constitution of Nepal,” reads the report.
The report said the government has failed to set up a credible transitional justice mechanism while the recommendation to amend the existing Transitional Justice Act in line with the Supreme Court ruling and internal standard continues to be sidelined.
It is also reluctant to criminalise serious crimes and end impunity by ensuring prompt, independent and thorough investigation and prosecution, they said.
The Supreme Court in February 2015 struck down the amnesty provisions in the Act and asked the government to amend it immediately. However, despite repeated commitments, the successive governments have not amended the Act.
“Despite the recommendation in 2015 UPR and repeated calls from the stakeholders to amend the law in line with the Supreme Court ruling, there has been continued failure to rectify the flawed legislation,” reads the report.
Giving the instance of Agni Sapkota, an accused in a murder during the insurgency, being elected as the Speaker of House of Represenatives, the victim groups said impunity continues to prevail in Nepal.
He is accused of ordering the killing of Arjun Lama from Kavrepalanchok district. The report said, along with Lama’s family, the entire victims' community in Nepal felt dishonored and betrayed by his appointment before completion of the criminal investigation pending in the Karve District Police Office.
The act of the government in 2012 to promote Kuber Singh Rana, who is suspected for enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing of five students from Dhanusha district to the rank of Nepal’s inspector general, too has been raised in the report.
The 2012’s report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioners on Human Rights shows 16,729 persons were killed and 1,327 were forcibly disappeared during the armed conflict from 1996 to 2006.
Though two transitional justice bodies— the Commission on the Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—were formed on February 10, 2015, they have not achieved anything remarkable other than merely registering the complaints.
In the report, the conflict victims organisations have called for putting pressure on the Nepal government during the UPR to prioritise ratifying numerous instruments including the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Similarly, they are for appointment of chairpersons and members in both commissions in a fair, transparent and inclusive manner in accordance with the amended transitional justice Act.
The victims have also demanded legislative and programmatic measures to complete the long-standing tasks to manage former Maoist child combatants by providing compensation and justice.
The ongoing transitional justice process doesn’t recognise the issue of hundreds of minor combatants who fought from the Maoist side during the insurgency.
The United Nations Mission in Nepal had disqualified 4,008 soldiers of the then rebel CPN (Maoist) combatants as minors, and as late recruits. During the verification process that ended in December 2007, it was found that 2,972 Maoist guerrillas were child soldiers.
Along with the one by the non-government organisations, National Human Rights Commission and conflict victims, the government will also submit their reports in the council for the UPR. The reports will be discussed in January next year where different countries will take part in the deliberation. The Nepal government will have to answer why it hasn't implemented its commitments made in the last UPR.