NHRC to launch drive against VAW, rape

Kathmandu, September 5

The National Human Rights Commission, in association with Nepal Police, is set to launch a national campaign on ‘Accountability of Nepal Police in Reduction of Violence Against Women and Protection of Human Rights’.

A press release issued by the constitutional rights watchdog stated that the campaign would begin on Friday from Mahendranagar of Kanchanpur district. During the campaign, the NHRC will also take stock of the progress made so far in connection with the rape and murder of 14-year-old girl Nirmala Panta and conduct a site monitoring in Kanchanpur, besides holding a discussion with kin of the victim. The campaign to be run in all seven provinces and Kathmandu valley is expected to enhance accountability of police in the registration of complaints, investigation, evidence collection and prosecution.

The NHRC said it was carrying out monitoring of news and reports in media regarding VAW and violation of human rights, and complaints relating thereto filed at police offices on a regular basis.

Citing statistics of Nepal Police, it informed that 1,480 cases of rape, 727 rape attempts, 308 trafficking in persons, 62 child marriage, 48 violence on the charge of ‘witchcraft’ and 18 forced abortions were recorded throughout the country in the fiscal 2017-18. Most of the victims of rape and rape attempt are minors between the ages of five and 16 years.

“A monitoring conducted by the NHRC shows that security personnel were involved in reconciling the victims with perpetrators in some cases against the law. Most of recorded incidents of rape have been perpetrated by members of the same family and close relatives, while other persons are involved in gang rapes. A recent trend has it that perpetrators of gang rape kill the victim after the crime,” the release stated.

According to NHRC, the failure of Nepal Police to bring to book the perpetrators by conducting prompt and effective criminal investigation further poses a threat to the life of the victim and gives rise to impunity. Various complaints received by the NHRC show that rape victims have also been deprived of legal aid, medical treatment and protection.

“Nepal Police has a crucial role in controlling crimes, including VAW and rape. Therefore, the NHRC would like to urge all concerned to make the investigation and prosecution process more effective and enhance access of victim to protection and justice in the context of increasing incidents of VAW and rape,” the release added.