Families of the disappeared to side with CIEDP

- DEWAN RAI, Lalitpur

Feb 20, 2017-

The National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing (Nefad) has announced collaboration with the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) in a strategic move to monitor and challenge the latter’s activities as it gears up for a detailed investigation into complaints of conflict victims. 

Nefad, a national level representative association of the families of those disappeared by the state and the rebel party during a decade long insurgency, also handed over a nine-point Kathmandu Declaration to the commission on Thursday.

The umbrella body of the families of the disappeared formally entered into collation with the transitional justice body to critically engage with the commission to make the commission work in support of conflict victims.

 “We have offered our support to the commission in gathering information for formal investigation whenever necessary,” said Nefad President Ram Kumar Bhandari. “But we also keep a close eye on every  investigation the commission conducts.”

Bhandari argued that the commission has little time to accomplish a huge task, for which the victims’ body wants to optimise the output through partnership with the investigating body.

As per the declaration, Nefad will collaborate with the commission to pressure the government for streamlining legal provisions and providing logistics in ensuring its functioning. 

It has raised the issue of witness protection mechanism and protection of evidence for effective truth finding process.  

Although the commission has authority to instruct the district administration to arrange security for the witness, conflict victims have not been assured of security yet. 

Officials at the CIEDP say no victim has reported about threat and intimidation at the commission even after the commission released the names of the victims online. 

Victims have also demanded transparency on the commission’s activities regarding formulation of policies. In the declaration, they insisted the commission should formulate required policies in consultation with the victims. 

The victims have raised the issues of livelihood and financial security, psycho-social support, memory work, mental health, property transfer, loan concession--the issues that are often not raised by rights activists and the state. 

“We emphasised on victims’ need, which seldom come in the discourse of the transitional justice process,” said Bhandari, after submitting the declaration to the commission. “We talk about reconciliation and peace, which are impossible without addressing everyday needs of the victims.”

The umbrella organisation has been advocating for ‘critical engagement’ ever since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the CIEDP were formed to look into the conflict-era cases.

Two commissions, which have received over 60,000 complaints in the past two years, have been given a one-year extension to conduct a detailed investigation and recommend for action against rights violators during the conflict.

Published: 20-02-2017 08:25

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