Nepal's bold transition to peace and a democratic system in 2006 has been hampered by political instability. The 2006 Peace Agreement ended a ten year civil war between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), however an elected Constituent Assembly was unable to agree upon a new Constitution. A new Government elected in Nov. 2013 has pledged to deliver a Constitution within a year. Impunity has continued for human rights violations, including for thousands of unlawful killings, disappearances, abductions, and torture that occurred during the war. Violence and insecurity plague some areas of the country, where armed groups operate largely with impunity. Severe poverty remains a serious concern; and women, lower castes, and ethnic minorities continue to face discrimination.
The People's Movement for Democracy in 2006 ended the civil war in Nepal, which was fought from 1996- 2006 between Government security forces and the Maoists. However political instability has inhibited the effective functioning of the new Government and the Constituent Assembly. The draft of a new Constitution, promised by May 2010, has been long delayed.
Over 14,000 people were killed in the war and thousands of grave human rights abuses such as unlawful killings, disappearances, abductions, and torture were committed by both security forces and Maoist cadres. A provision of the 2006 Peace Agreement promised the creation of an independent, high-level commission to investigate war-related abuses, to prosecute those implicated, and to provide compensation to the victims. This commission has not been formed. Despite the efforts of human rights groups, not a single perpetrator of a grave abuse has been brought to justice in a civilian court.
Killings and abductions continue to occur. Security forces are responsible for unlawful killings, use of excessive force in the disruption of demonstrations, and torture is widely reported. Armed groups are responsible for killings, abductions, and torture. The law guarantees freedom of the press, but there has been a disturbing increase in threats and violence against journalists and media houses, including several murders. Amnesty International believes that impunity for past and current human rights violations is contributing to the ongoing violence and security problems in Nepal.
Human rights defenders in Nepal have been at the forefront of the struggle to establish peace and justice in Nepal, and campaign on a range of issues including justice for victims of human rights violations, caste discrimination, and women’s rights. Many human rights defenders, especially in rural areas, continue to work under threat of violence.
Persistent abuses of economic, social, and cultural rights mean that many in Nepal live in severe poverty, with food insecurity and poor access to health and education. Despite some recent progress, women, ethnic minorities, and lower castes continue to face discrimination and violence.