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No progress on human rights record

Monday, January 23rd, 2012
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The World report 2012 released by Human Rights Watch in New York today says Nepal has failed to make progress on checking human rights violations. The report points towards a glaring apathy of the government and the political parties in addressing attrocities committed during the years of war, blaming the state for ‘weakening already dysfunctional justice system by ignoring court orders and appointing people allegedly guilty of serious rights violations to senior government positions.’

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006, signed between the seven parties and the Maoists had called for the setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Disappearances commission within six months to investigate into the war crimes . But the subsequent governments formed since then have been reluctant to pass the bill. Thousands lost their lives in a decade long conflict and the following years of Madhes and other ethnic movements, everybody has blood in their hand: the Army, the Maoists, the King and the parties that came to assume power.

There is a silent agreement among the parties to provide general amnesty on cases of ‘political nature’. The Maoists and their Madhesi coalition partners in government have been pushing for amnesty petitions on several cases involving their cadres, while Nepal Army has refused to prosecute known war criminals in its ranks. The Rayamajhi commission report on human rights violation by the state forces during the 2006 people’s movement continues to gather dust even as one of the main accused has become an elected lawmaker, and the role of Gyanendra Shah as the then head of the state has never come into question.

Several national and international reports have criticised Nepal’s poor human rights record in the past, including its treatment of Tibetan refugees. The Human Rights Watch report this year is only a reminder that we, as a nation have failed miserably to protect rights and lives of people living our territory. The report goes on to say, refusal to extend the mandate of UN human rights field office this year is a major step backward and calls into question the commitment of the political parties in the government and opposition.

Putting it bluntly, Human Rights Watch director in Asia Brad Adams concludes, “Nepal is no closer to fulfilling the lofty rights-focused commitments spelled out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement now than when it was signed five years ago.”

The report has made a detailed study of human rights situation in over 90 countries in the past year.

Anurag Acharya

To read the World Report 2012 chapter on Nepal, please visit:
World Report 2012 chapter on Nepal

Read also:
Don’t ask don’t tell, # 575
Justice is Peace, # 583

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