All was wrong on rights front during King’s rule: Amnesty

Kathmandu, May 23 :

A global report of the Amnesty International has said there were gross violations of human rights - killings, illegal detentions, adbuctions and disappearances amongst others - both by the security forces and Maoists after King Gyanendra assumed direct rule last year.

“The human rights situation deteriorated sharply after King Gyanendra seized direct power and declared a state of emergency. Civil liberties were undermined, with thousands of politically motivated arrests, strict media censorship and harassment of human rights defenders,” the ‘Amnesty International Report 2006, the state of the world’s human rights’ said.

The report was released worldwide, including Nepal, today. It said the security forces “operating with impunity and disregard for the rule of law” engaged in illegal arrests, torture and extra-judicial killings of civilians and suspected Maoist cadres while the rebels abducted civilians and committed unlawful killings amongst others.

Judges and lawyers faced harassment and intimidation by the security forces while many people freed by the courts were rearrested, it said.

The arrest of thousands of political activists, human rights defenders, students, trade unionists and journalists were also included in the report. Children faced rights abuses from both the warring factions as they were reportedly detained and tortured by the security forces and abducted and recruited in the Maoist militia. Children were also killed in indiscriminate attacks. There were incidents of women being victims of trafficking and rape owing to the conflict, it said.

The “village defence forces”, civilian militias, reportedly supported by the state heightened civilian casualties and human rights violations. The report also highlighted issues of displacement, strikes and insecurity that barred people from enjoying their rights.

The AI quoted its Secretary General Irene Khan as saying: “Governments collectively and individually paralysed international institutions and squandered public resources in pursuit of narrow security interests, sacrificed principles in the name of the war on terror and turned a blind eye to massive human rights violations.”

Terrorism by armed groups, according to her, is “inexcusable and unacceptable.” She emphasised on the need for the perpetrators to be brought to book through fair trial and not torture or secret detention.