International day in support of victims of torture: No end to torture, rights abuses: Report

Kathmandu, June 25:

Torture, abuse and violation of human rights is rampant in Nepal, even after the downfall of the autocratic regime and the end of armed hostilities between the government and the Maoists, a report, Torture Still Continues, published by the Advocacy Forum Nepal (AFN) said today.

Though the power of the military to detain civilians has been curtailed, the Nepal Army still arrests and detains civilians and inflicts torture upon them, the report said. The AFN has registered 1,313 new cases of torture, after April 2006 until now, the report said.

The forum has documented 17 cases of torture, four cases of rape and six cases of illegal detention of civilians by the military after April 2006. The AFN has also documented 67 cases of torture, a case of rape and 96 cases of abduction by the Maoists since Jana Andolan II in April 2006.

The report was launched at a seminar on Status of torture in Nepal and the ways to minimise, organised by the AFN today to mark the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, that falls tomorrow.

Addressing the seminar, legal experts claimed that the existing practice of torture could be minimised only if the perception of the political leaders and the security forces is changed.

General Secretary of Nepal Bar Association Raman Kumar Shrestha said the people in custody are treated like animals and that exists even in the changed political context.

Attorney General, Yagya Murti Banjade, said the provision of keeping people in custody should be changed because that violates human rights. He also stressed the need for collective efforts to end the culture of torturing people.

The State and the society takes issues of torture very lightly, Prabesh Bahadur Bista of Syuchatar, whom the Nepal Army had kept in custody for 28 months, for allegedly being a Maoist cadre, said. Human Right activist, Subodh Raj Pyakurel, said around 100,000 Nepalis have been maimed due to various forms of torture. This has affected their families as a whole, he said.

SP Navaraj Silwal, chief of the Human Rights Unit at Nepal Police, said the practice of torturing people is decreasing, following the increasing awareness among the police officials.