TRC records 295 complaints on sexual assault

  • Rights activists say the real number could be higher
- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu
A human rights lawyer Rukmani Maharjan says many victims have not shared their stories with their partners

Dec 2, 2016-The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has received the highest number of complaints on torture and the lowest on sexual assaults perpetrated during a decade long conflict.

Of the 57,205 complaints screened by the commission, 17,890 complaints are related to torture while 295 complaints are regarding sexual assaults. 

Rights activists say the number of sexual assaults could be much higher than reported by the commission had there been proper mechanism to collect the complaints from the victims of sexual violence. 

The complaints were collected through Local Peace Committees that had mostly male employees who were said to be untrained to handle sensitive case like sexual 

violence. 

Bhagiram Chaudhari, of Conflict Victims’ Common Platform, said many victims needed help filling out the complaint forms as they could not read or write.

“I doubt they could openly share their experience with us, “ he said.

According to human rights lawyer Rukmani Maharjan, the TRC simply asked the victims to fill out the complaint forms without considering those who might have suffered from sexual assaults.

“Many victims have not shared their stories with their partners. How can you expect them to share with strangers?” she said, adding that women and children are affected the most in conflicts.

Comparing the complaints of sexual assaults recorded by the TRC to the findings made by the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children’s Fund through reproductive health camps conducted between April 2010 and April 2012 in 14 districts supports Maharjan’s point. 

The UN agencies recorded over 821 cases of gender-based violence, of them 128 victims were survivors of sexual violence that took place during the conflict. The 128 conflict-related incidents were established only after providing health service to 36,471 women and girls. 

Of them, 27,525 individuals had received service of reproductive health service, 3,561 individuals availed the service of psychosocial counsel. 

Although the Enforced Disappearances Enquiry, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act categorise torture and sexual assaults as serious human rights violation, there is no possibility of action against the perpetrators of these crimes. 

Published: 02-12-2016 07:59

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