Govt to act on disappearances soon

KATHMANDU: Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Rakam Chemjong today said the government was committed in setting up a peace commission that comply fully with international standards and apex court ruling of June 2007.

Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances will be realised soon, he said.

His statement came following a joint-appeal made by the embassies of 10 countries in Nepal to the government for early formation of the commission to look into the status of those disappeared during the conflict.

Addressing a function organised in the capital to mark International Day of the Disappeared today, minister Chemjong said, "The draft bill is now being given finishing touches. One it is ready, it will be tabled in the legislature-parliament."

The bill is likely to be tabled in the parliament for approval on September 8, when the cabinet and all-party meet.

"We will leave no stone unturned to make it free from criticism," he informed adding that political consensus was required before making any decision in this regard.

Chairman of National Human Rights Commission Kedarnath Upadhya urged the government to form the Commission without any delay to ensure that it was committed to the basic norms of human rights. Meanwhile, nine various human rights organisations have called on the government and UCPN- Maoist to publicise the whereabouts of the disappeared citizens during the conflict-era. "Contrary to their earlier commitment, they are yet to publicise the details," said a press statement jointly issued here today by NHRC, OHCHR, International Center for Transitional Justice, HURON, CAHURAST, Human Rights Alliance, FOHRID, COCAP and Disappearances Warriors Family Association.

According to a NHRC statement, several thousands were forcibly disappeared during the conflict period. Of them, the whereabouts of at least 835 have never been made public. "It is very important that those disappeared are made public, the NHRC statement said.

"We are gravely concerned that the state has not made adequate efforts to disclose the information about the disappearances," added the statement.

Likewise, prominent human rights organisations today formally asked the government of Nepal to amend the latest draft Disappearances of Persons (Crime and Punishment) bill to make it comply with international law and standards.

Accountability Watch Committee, Advocacy Forum Nepal, Amnesty International Nepal, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, Human Rights Watch, International Center for Transitional Justice, International Commission of Jurists, and Informal Sector Service Centre highlighted the significance of constituting the inquiry commission.

"Such a commission is necessary to ensure that the truth is revealed, justice is done and reparations are made.