CIEDP extends complaints deadline

Kathmandu, June 12

The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons has received 2,084 disappearance-related complaints, which is 589 more than the government’s official data.

Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction had listed 1,495 cases of enforced disappearance during the decade-long Maoist war that ended in November 2006.

CIEDP spokesperson Prof Bishnu Pathak told The Himalayan Times that the transitional mechanism extended the deadline till mid-July for lodging complaints of enforced disappearance.

Pathak expected the number of such complaints to exceed 2,500. CIEDP sources said those coming forward for the first time to lodge complaints had not got any relief money from the government yet.

When asked about the reason behind the surpassing of official data on enforced disappearance, Pathak said victims’ families who were poor and did not have access to political parties, human rights organisations or government bodies were not able to lodge complaints in the past.

“Those who could not come forward to lodge complaints for various reasons, including due to real and perceived threats, they now feel confident, as the transitional mechanism can protect their identity and help them get justice,” Pathak argued.

He, however, said the number of complaints was more than the official data, as the local peace committees had refused to list ‘missing persons’ as enforced disappearances.

Pathak said the CIEDP could again extend the deadline for filing complaints if the victims’ families so wanted.

When asked about the possibility of wrong people lodging complaints at CIEDP, Pathak said the transitional mechanism had developed enough checks in its system that could easily detect wrong complaints.

Pathak said the CIEDP was in favour of giving enough time to people of Upper Himalayan region, who were away from their homes picking Yarshagumba, to lodge complaints, if any.

The CIEDP has prepared 20-page forms to collect ante-mortem data within one and a half months to help the transitional body identify the victims when it exhumes bodies at suspected sites.

According to Pathak, the CIEDP will try to identify victims with the help of information contained in the ante-mortem forms and if it fails to do so, it will try to do so with the help of DNA data.

Pathak said the CIEDP was also planning to send psycho social counsellors with its staff who would visit victims’ families to collect ante-mortem data.

“Collecting ante-mortem data is a kind of reminding the victims of their tragedy and therefore we are sending psycho-social counsellors to console the victims’ families,” he added.

A CIEDP source said only 10 per cent complaints were against the Maoist cadres and the rest were against the erstwhile officials of security agencies, former prime ministers and former home ministers and former chief of the CIAA.

The CIEDP has been receiving complaints on disappearance cases since April 14, and will continue to do so until mid-June.