Kathmandu, June 25
Rate of torture in detention in the country has increased by five per cent over the past three years, according to a report.
According to a study conducted by Advocacy Forum, of 1,165 detainees interviewed in 2018 22.2 per cent reported they had to undergo torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. As many as 306 interviewees were juveniles, who reported 23.5 per cent rate of torture.
The report said child correction homes were reported to be housing juveniles nearing double their capacity, leading to illegal detention of juveniles with adults in conventional detention centres.
According to the report, torture was disproportionately inflicted at a higher rate against socio-economically poorer groups in comparison to richer groups, and individuals with higher social status. Detainees of the Tarai ethnic origin experienced torture at 30.4 per cent rate, 8.2 per cent higher than the overall torture rate, partially attributable to a growing Tarai right movement and resulting government suppression.
The report also highlighted lack of compliance by the police with procedural safeguards, resulting in inadequacies and failures regarding health examinations of detainees. Police, judicial, and legislative systems in conjunction with the current legal and political context have failed to properly safeguard the rights and welfare of those under detention, the report stated.
The report recommended Nepal to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention Against Torture so that an official national body could facilitate independent monitoring and reporting of torture. It also recommended that statutory limitation of six months, on complaints regarding torture in the Penal Code, be removed so that survivors of torture could come forward once they were physically and mentally sound.
Other recommendations included modernising medical and legal supports for adults and juvenile and equipping police with resources, technologies and updated operational manuals. The report also recommended that child correction homes received attention and help required under national and international human rights law.
Speaking at the report unveiling programme, National Human Rights Commission Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma said although the situation of detainees had improved to some extent, a lot more needed to be done. He said since the government had a major stake in the protection of human rights, it should not in any form contribute to right violation.
A version of this article appears in print on June 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.