‘Conflict victims yet to get justice’

Kathmandu, January 18

Despite some halting progress on transitional justice for abuses during the country’s 1996-2006 Maoist insurgency, victims saw little by way of justice or reparations, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2018.

In the 643-page report, its 28th edition, New York-based HRW reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. “After years of political instability that led to stalled human rights reforms, Nepal’s elections may lead to fresh hope for justice and due process,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW. “Nepal’s political leadership has long been divided on most issues except to deny justice and accountability for conflict-related abuses, which should now change.”

According to the report, Nepal’s transitional justice mechanisms, focused on truth-telling and disappearances, held hearings throughout 2017 and received more than 60,000 complaints from across the country. Flaws in the commissions’ mandates were not remedied, in spite of several Supreme Court directives. Due to these shortcomings, the international community chose to remain silent on the transitional justice process until the laws were brought into line with international norms.

“Quarrels among political leaders led to long delays in establishing a mechanism charged with distributing the estimated US$4 billion in aid generated for victims of the April 2015 earthquakes. Victims, many still living in temporary shelters, were further affected by harsh winters and floods during the monsoon season,” it reads.

The report also mentioned that Nepal had the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia and 37 per cent of girls are married before age 18, and 10 percent before age 15. Progress toward ending the practice has stalled.

In 2016, the government launched a national strategy to end child marriage by 2030, but has yet to announce or implement any practical action plan.