Nepal: UN calls for no pardons or impunity in cases of human rights abuses

13 September 2011

Hailing the Nepalese Government’s commitment to establish long awaited transitional justice mechanisms to address the abuses of its decade-long civil war, the United Nations today warned against granting pardons or case withdrawals that would violate international human rights law.

“As Nepal moves forward in its peace process and strengthens its democratic institutions to build a strong and stable future, calls for amnesties or for case withdrawals involving serious crimes would be steps in the wrong direction,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Piper said in a statement, urging political parties to pass the requisite bills in Nepal.

“These would deny victims justice at a time when the rule of law should be the foundation of the transitional justice process and of the new constitutional order that is being built.”

Some 13,000 people were killed and countless disappearances and cases of torture and other abuses were reported in the civil war between the then-royalist Government and Maoist rebels which ended in 2007.

The Government of Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M) party, which was formed last month, has pledged to speed up adoption of bills related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances, and set up the two bodies in what UN officials called “a historic step forward” for human rights in Nepal.

“It is vital that the laws establishing the transitional justice mechanisms are drafted to allow the commissions to effectively respond to the rights of the victims to truth, justice and reparations,” the head of the UN human rights office in Nepal, Jyoti Sanghera, said in the joint statement with Mr. Piper, stressing that local and international rights organizations have condemned any political agreements to endorse impunity.

“The laws must emphasize the impermissibility of any measures that could provide amnesty for the perpetrators of serious human rights violations and war crimes, including rape, enforced disappearances, torture and summary executions.”

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