‘Nepal yet to ensure justice to war-era victims’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 14, 2017-

Nepal has failed to ensure accountability for human rights abuses committed during the decade-long armed conflict, a New York-based rights group said.

“Nepal’s Maoist leader Pushpa Kumar Dahal, despite holding the prime minister’s office in 2016, failed to ensure accountability for human rights abuses during the civil war as promised by his party in a 2006 peace agreement,” Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2017 released on Thursday. 

Dahal, under whose leadership the Maoist party launched the decade-long insurgency, came to power, for a second time, in August last year.

While assuming office, Dahal promised conclusion of the peace process and addressing the grievances of the victims of the so-called “people’s war” by ensuring accountability for human rights abuses as his major tasks. 

“Nepal’s government and parties continued their cynical stalling on accountability for war crimes during the 1996-2006 civil war which claimed more than 13,000 lives,” the human rights watchdog has said in its report. Two commissions—the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons—were set up almost nine years after the 2006 peace agreement, which envisaged their formation within six months. 

“Two commissions established to hear complaints on war crimes and disappearances were set up under legislation which allows perpetrators amnesties. Supreme Court orders to amend the legislation to bring it into line with Nepal’s obligations under international law were ignored,” added HRW. “The two commissions received a reported 59,000 complaints, but a May 2016 agreement between four main political parties agreeing to withdraw all wartime cases before the courts and provide amnesty to perpetrators threatens to render the work of the commissions null.”

“Every step of the way, what we see with the Nepali government and political parties is a willingness to sacrifice victims’ needs in order to promote their own interests,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW, in a statement. “This is a fundamental betrayal of the promises made a decade ago when the democratic parties wrested control from an authoritarian state, established a peace, and promised a new inclusive and just governance.”

In the report, HRW has also criticised the lack of political will in Nepal. “A lack of political will also led to ongoing impunity for the perpetrators of the violence and subsequent humanitarian disaster which engulfed Nepal’s southern plains following the adoption of a contested constitution in September 2015,” it said. “While there have been some arrests for the killings of members of the police forces during the protests, there has been no movement on justice for the civilians who were killed, which included some children. A commission set up to inquire into these killings remains without a proper mandate, ToR, or a budget.”

Published: 14-01-2017 08:14

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