The United Nations human rights office in Nepal today voiced concern over the appointment to the Cabinet in the South Asian country of an individual alleged to be a suspect in a case of kidnapping and murder.
Agni Sapkota, the new Minister of Information and Communications, was named as a suspect in a police report in 2008 in connection with the alleged abduction and killing of Arjun Lama in 2005, according to a statement issued by the UN Human Rights Office in Nepal.
The police report followed an order from the Supreme Court demanding that a full investigation be carried out in accordance with Nepalese law. The court’s order is yet to be carried out three years since it was issued, according to the Office.
Furthermore, no action has been taken on a recommendation by the National Human Rights Commission issued to the Government in June 2008 requesting that the case be investigated and the alleged perpetrators prosecuted.
The UN Human Rights Office reiterated that the State has the responsibility to ensure that the name of a person is fully cleared in a thorough probe before any appointment to a high public office.
It said the decision to appoint Mr. Sapkota as a Cabinet minister contradicted Nepal’s commitments, as expressed during the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, towards accountability for serious human rights violations and abuses committed during the Nepalese conflict, and reinforced the culture of impunity.
“My Office has consistently maintained that all allegations of human rights and humanitarian law violations by all parties are promptly and thoroughly investigated,” said Jyoti Sanghera, the head of the UN Human Rights Office in Nepal.
“Lack of accountability in cases of alleged human rights violations not only sends a message that there are no consequences for the perpetrators of such violations, but further adds to the suffering of the victims and their families who have been awaiting justice for many years.”