Kathmandu, September 21
The National Human Rights Commission has expressed serious concern about disrespectful treatment and torture being meted out to persons taken into custody by the police for criminal investigation.
A report recently released by the NHRC Province 3 Office revealed that police were also arresting persons without any warrant. “Jailbirds admitted to hospital were shackled even during medical treatment in the presence of armed cops. It is against the provisions set forth in Section 11(2) of the Prison Act,” reads the report.
Similarly, the NHRC received complaints about the refusal of police to register some cases of violence against women. According to the report, most of the prisons are overcrowded and are in dilapidated conditions and need to be rebuilt or renovated.
Jailbirds are deprived of basic amenities and human rights, including sanitation, room space, quality food and regular health check-ups. Many prisons lack space for jailbirds to sleep conveniently. Jailbirds have also been denied sports and entertainment materials, skill training and adequate textbooks for formal education.
The state of custody rooms is also as bad as prison cells. The police custody rooms in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Chitwan and Nuwakot districts have detainees more than double their holding capacity.
Cases of abuse in police custody rooms have been reported.
Likewise, frequent incidents of bomb explosion, arson and vandalism in Kathmandu and other places of Province 3 have violated citizens’ rights to live in a secure, peaceful and dignified environment.
The report has also voiced concerns about the Media Council Bill tabled in the Parliament. It said the bill intended to curtail press freedom and free press in the country. “The press is an integral part of democracy and it should not be controlled under the pretext of regulation,” the report stated.
The rights body said the government had failed to ensure disabled-friendly infrastructure for persons with disabilities. According to Article 42 (3) of the constitution, people with physical impairment shall have the right to dignified life and equal access to social services and facilities.
Similarly, Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2017 has stipulated a provision of accessible physical infrastructure for the disabled.
A version of this article appears in print on September 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.