Both parties now find themselves on the same side, and appear to have colluded to ensure that the draft bill will allow state security forces and guerrilla commanders who are now in government to not be answerable for torture and disappearances, summary executions, rape and other heinous crimes.
The letter to the UN Secretary-General seeks his good offices to ensure that changes be made to the draft bill so that families and victims receive truth and justice. It reminds the Secretary-General that the United Nations has been a meaningful partner in Nepal’s peace process, which makes it surprising that the respective Special Rapporteurs, the OHCHR and other UN entities have not publicly reacted to the transitional justice bill.
The letter states that the transitional justice bill does not follow the ruling of Nepal’s Supreme Court and goes against international law. It draws attention to the re-definition and distinction between ‘murder’ and ‘cruelly conducted murder’ in the bill, as well as the issues of child soldiers, torture and wartime rape.
‘The amendment bill is designed to provide de facto immunity to perpetrators of both sides,’ the letter states, adding, “we hope that the United Nations will remain engaged on the matter.’
UN Resident Coordinator Richard Howard assured the meeting of human rights conflict victims’ groups (pictured) that the United Nations remained committed to values inherent in the transitional justice process.
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The letter was signed by Gauri Sankhar Lal Das and Sushil Pyakurel (former commissioners of National Human Rights Commission), Kul Chandra Gautam (Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, Min Bahadur Shahi (Human Rights Alliance), Nani Maya Thapa (NGO Federation of Nepal), Suman Adhikari (Conflict Victim Orphan Society Nepal) and Maina Karki (Conflict Victims’ Common Platform), among others.
It also included victims’ groups, including the Army Single Women and Injured Families Group, Conflict Victims’ Society for Justice, Amar Prahari Pariwar, Conflict Victims’ National Alliance, Discharged People’s Liberation Army Nepal.
Read more: Transitional injustice in Nepal, Kanak Mani Dixit