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UN war report raps Nepal govt inaction

Publication Date : 09-10-2012

 

The Geneva-based UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) yesterday released what experts believe is the most comprehensive documentation of violations of human rights that occurred during the 10-year Maoist conflict in Nepal.

The report was released simultaneously in Kathmandu and Geneva, despite persistent reservations expressed by the government of Nepal.

Local human rights defenders lauded the UN move and said that the report will be a significant addition to Nepal’s conflict literature.

The 233-page “Nepal Conflict Report” is a database of around 30,000 documents and cases. It has compiled 9,000 cases of “serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law”.

It says the government has an obligation to investigate such cases and prosecute perpetrators.

“The failure of the government to meet such obligations will pave the way for prosecuting perpetrators internationally,” said rights defender and advocate Govinda Bandi in Kathmandu.

The report details 41 specific emblematic cases drawn from the database, and suggests that several such cases might amount to war crimes, which could put the government in a difficult situation.

In the foreword of the report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said six years after the end of the conflict, perpetrators of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law have not been held accountable by the justice system and the suffering of victims and their families has continued and remains largely unacknowledged by the state.

The government made a desperate effort to block the report and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha urged Kathmandu-based EU envoys to stall its publication just ahead of the release on Monday.

The government has not owned up the report, citing credibility and saying the OHCHR “overstepped” its mandate. It said the report was prepared without the government’s involvement.

“There is no need to panic. It (report) is already in the public domain and the government feels no need to say anything more on this,” a senior government official told the Post.

The report focuses on five particular categories of violations — unlawful killings, disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrests and sexual violence.

“Sexual violence is rather new and under-reported due to social stigma and taboo in Nepal,” Rory Mungoven, the head of OHCHR’s Asia Pacific Region, said in the video conference held to release the report.

Though the report does not name the perpetrators and victims, it gives substantial basis for suspicion for filing cases and bringing the culprits to justice.

The report has urged the government to ensure that no perpetrator bearing the greatest responsibility in violations be granted amnesty.

 

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