Rights groups press govt to extend TJ bodies’ mandate

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 6, 2017-As the mandate for the transitional justice bodies draws closer to an end, international rights organisations have requested the government to extend their tenure ‘indefinitely’ to ensure justice, accountability and reparations for conflict victims. 

In a joint statement isssued on Saturday, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also urged the United Nations and donors, who played a major role in post-conflict peacemaking and rights protections, to request the Nepal government for the amendment in line with international norms and extend their mandates.

“In spite of delays caused by political parties, the two commissions have succeeded in accumulating a body of evidence of wartime atrocities that can lead to justice, accountability, and reparations for survivors,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at the Human Rights Watch. “The victims and their families who showed great courage to appear before the commissions did so expecting the commissions to complete their work. It is time for Nepal’s political parties to prove their commitment to justice and truth.”

The mandates of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) are set to expire on February 10. Over the past years, the two commissions have registered over 60,000 complaints of conflict victims on which they plan to start comprehensive investigation after extension of the mandate. 

The TRC on Sunday formally wrote to the government, asking for a term extension by one year as provisioned in the Transitional Justice Act. In the letter, the commission has also drawn the government’s attention towards the number of complaints and resources required to investigate over 58,000 complaints. 

Last week, the CIEDP, which has registered close to 3,000 complaints, had requested the government to extend the terms. The commission has also urged the government to criminalise the act of disappearance. Although the commission had forwarded the bill proposing to criminalise the act of disappearance last year, the government has turned a deaf ear to it. 

The government is expected to renew the office terms within a week. If the government does not extend the mandate of the commissions, a new act should be enacted to set up another enquiry commissions. 

“The government of Nepal cannot continue to ignore the rights of victims to justice, truth, and reparation,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director at the Amnesty International. “Failure to amend the act as ordered by the Supreme Court and grant the commissions a reasonable extension of their mandates will squander the hope that wartime victims have placed in this process.”

Published: 06-02-2017 08:13

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