February 7 2011
NEPAL – New Government Must Deliver on Past Human Rights Commitments as Part of the Peace Process and State Restructuring.
- The formation of a new government must not be another wasted opportunity to implement the human rights components of the CPA. In particular the new government must address the ‘full spectrum impunity’ that pervades the country, driven in part by the failure to bring to justice those responsible for conflict related human rights abuses. Individual prosecutions, relevant commissions and the delivery of full and adequate reparations should now be a priority for the government.
- Those tasked with drafting the new Constitution and formulating the country’s new political system should ensure they comply with international human right standards. They should reflect the commitments in the CPA to comply with ‘universally accepted fundamental human rights…rule of law…independent judiciary…complete press freedom…people’s participation (Provision 3.4). They should fulfill and protect the rights of women, Dalit, indigenous people, Janajatis and other minorities ending discrimination based on class, caste, language, sex, culture, and religion (Provision 3.5). This should include the right to education, health, housing, employment and food to all (Provision 3.9).
- Fulfill the Supreme Court ruling from 1 July 2007 by promptly establishing a Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances in line with international standards. The prompt formation of the Commission will go some way to rectifying the failure to implement provision 5.2.3 of the CPA to make public the details of those disappeared during the conflict.
- Ensure that impunity of conflict related human rights abuses is not tolerated. Making it clear to responsible organs of the state that the Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances is not a substitute to police investigations and prosecutions in a court of law. Provisions in the CPA for the withdrawal of political cases should not be misused to provide amnesty. Cases where serious crimes are alleged to have been committed, including murder, should not be withdrawn by the government but put before civilian courts for trial.
- Establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission ensuring that it includes provisions to guarantee its independence (provision 5.2.5 of the CPA). The timely delivery of truth and reparations is essential to alleviate the suffering of many families who lost loved ones during the conflict (Provision 7.1.3 ‘they shall also guarantee the right to relief of the families of the conflict and torture victims and the disappeared’). Essential in the formation of either commission and individual prosecutions is the establishment of robust witness protection mechanisms that allow individuals to come forward to provide testimony without fear for their safety.
- Accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Enforced Disappearances Convention and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. Accession to these treaties will be an essential guarantee of non-repetition of the serious human rights violations committed in Nepal.
During an internal armed conflict in Nepal between 1996 and 2006, thousands of civilians were killed, subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and other human rights violations by the army, the police and Maoist forces. More than four years after the adoption of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement, not one of those responsible for these horrific crimes have been brought to justice and victims are still waiting for justice, truth and reparations.