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Nepal: UN presses Government to follow Court judgment on disappearances

Nepal: UN presses Government to follow Court judgment on disappearances

Richard Bennett of the human rights office (OHCHR)  in Nepal  (file Photo)
The United Nations human rights office in Nepal today encouraged the fledgling Government to take action on a watershed Supreme Court decision, made two years ago, calling for an investigation into those behind scores of disappearances during the South Asian nation's decade-long civil war.

In its 1 June 2007 judgment, the Court directed the Government to “take immediate measures to address the needs of victims and ensure accountability for conflict-related disappearances,” the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) said in a news release.

OHCHR-Nepal called on the Government to use the anniversary of the Court's ruling to implement the judgment, addressing the “rights of victims of disappearances to truth, justice and reparations.”

In December, OHCHR reported that at least 170 men and women vanished in the Bardiya district of Nepal between 2001 and 2003 during the conflict, which claimed an estimated 13,000 lives and ended in 2006 with the Government and the Maoists signing a peace deal.

OHCHR said that 156 of the disappearances came after arrests by – the now former – Government security forces loyal to the Monarchy and 14 were taken by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) army.

Among its measures the Court ordered the Government to establish a commission of inquiry consistent with international standards criminalize enforced disappearance investigate and prosecute those responsible for disappearances and provide adequate compensation and relief to victims and their families.

“The Supreme Court's landmark 2007 decision established the standard by which to judge initiatives to criminalize and prosecute the crime of disappearances and to provide truth, justice and reparations to the victims,” said OHCHR-Nepal Representative Richard Bennett.

“By prioritizing the passage of a disappearance law consistent with the Court's judgment, the new Government can clearly show its commitment to ending impunity and addressing the needs of victims of the conflict.”