Nepal at a Crossroads: Peace or Armed Conflict?

Event
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nepal at a Crossroads: Peace or Armed Conflict?

 

Jitman Basnet, a human rights lawyer and journalist, has been working for human rights and transitional justice for 15 years in Nepal. Because of his stand against violence and destructive activities, he was kidnapped by the Maoist rebels in 2002 for one day and tortured. Later, he was illegally arrested by the Royal Nepal Army in 2004 because of his voice for human rights and justice. He was detained incommunicado for 258 days and subjected to extreme torture. He was a witness to army atrocity, torture, mistreatment, enforced disappearance and killings that happened to co-detainees in the army barrack. Upon his release, despite ongoing threats from the Army, he worked to save 29 disappeared civilians who had been illegally and secretly detained with him. After providing eyewitness testimony and receiving death threats, he went into exile in India in 2005 for 18 months where he continued to support Nepal’s democratic movement.
 
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. His book ‘258 Dark Days’, a harrowing account of his life in military custody, was released in 2007. Several movies and documentaries have since been produced based on it, including Badshala, (drama), I Will Find You and 258 Dark Days, (documentaries). Mr. Basnet has filed a number of cases against army officials, including former King Gyanendra, who were allegedly involved in human rights violations.
 
Because of his work, activities and the book, he was targeted by Army personnel once again who threatened and attempted to assault him. He went into exile in India for a second time in 2007 for 8 months. Upon return to Nepal in 2009 and with the assistance of TRIAL, a pro-bono organization in Switzerland, Mr. Basnet and LAFHUR, submitted a number of cases related to human rights violations to the United Nations Human Rights Committee under the International Convention on Political and Civil Rights, ICCPR.
 
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. His informative and well received presentations cover a number of timely issues.
Boston University Morse Auditorium
602 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
United States