Independent unit needed in Nepal to probe possible extrajudicial killings – UN

23 September 2010

United Nations human rights officials in Nepal today called on the country’s authorities to set up a police complaints commission or similar independent mechanism in the wake of findings that security forces were likely to have been involved in the extrajudicial killings of dozens of people.

A probe by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) found “credible allegations of unlawful use of lethal force by security forces” in the deaths of 57 people in the country’s Terai region between January 2008 and June this year.

In a report released today, OHCHR-Nepal said the investigation showed that in at least 16 of the cases the victim had been arrested before they died.

No thorough investigations or criminal prosecutions have been undertaken in almost all cases, the office said.

“One of our main concerns is that most of these cases of extrajudicial killings have not been properly investigated,” said Jyoti Sanghera, the acting head of OHCHR-Nepal. “With this report, our main objective is to provide concrete recommendations to address comprehensively the problem of extrajudicial killings and a lack of due process.”

The office said that given “this is an especially important moment in the peace process in Nepal,” where a decade-long civil war ended in 2006, authorities should quickly establish an independent mechanism such as a police complaints commission or special unit to inquire into allegations of wrongdoing by State actors.

OHCHR said that while it understood that the Nepalese Government faces an enormous challenge in maintaining public security, any initiatives to counter criminal activity or enhance security “should be consistent with international human rights standards and the interim constitution.”

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