KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 3
Conflict victims have condemned the government's failure to amend the Truth Reconciliation Act as ordered by the Supreme Court. They have demanded that no amnesty be granted for serious offences committed during the decade-long Maoist insurgency.
Devi Sunuwar, mother of Maina Sunuwar who was killed by security personnel in Kavre during the Maoist insurgency, said Kavre District Court had awarded life term to the members of the Nepali Army who were found guilty, but ironically, she was dragged into a case by the Nepali Army for seeking justice.
"We have lost everything in our long battle for justice. We have lost our loved ones and family members in the course of seeking justice, but we have not got justice," she lamented at a stakeholders' consultation meeting on Universal Periodic Review organised by Forum for Women, Law and Development. She said none of the political parties had shown sympathy and seriousness towards the plight of conflict victims.
Chair of Conflict Victims Common Platform Gopal Bahadur Shah said the UPR had been expressing serious concern about Nepal's failure to ensure justice for conflict victims, but the government was doing nothing to address the concerns of conflict victims. He said he had no faith in Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka's commitment to transitional justice, which he recently expressed at the UN forum.
Maina Karki, a conflict victim, said many victims who suffered sexual violence during the Maoist insurgency but did not tell others of the brutalities committed against them due to fear of being stigmatised, were suffering in silence.
Executive Director of Forum for Women, Law and Development Sabin Shrestha said UPR participants had shown serious concern about Nepal's failure to ensure justice for conflict victims. "Despite Nepal government's commitment to address those concerns, nothing has happened on the ground," he added. "The government has expressed commitment to amend TRC laws as per the Supreme Court order, but the laws concerned have remained unamended till date," he said.
"UPR participants have demanded that the transitional mechanism allocate adequate resources, and the government introduce measures to protect witnesses, address issues related to transitional justice as per international law, and the Rome Statute," he said.
"The Supreme Court had issued a directive to the government to remove statute of limitation in conflict-era rape cases, but the government has not amended the law till date."
Acting Secretary at the National Human Rights Commission Murari Prasad Kharel said if the government had neglected any issue the most, it was the issue of justice for conflict victims. He said the UPR had always expressed its concern regarding the delay in ensuring justice for conflict victims, but the government had not addressed those issues. He said the government must ensure that the issues of transitional justice were not raised by the UPR participants in its next cycle of discussion.
Kharel said frequent transfer of employees working for Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons and inadequate resources for these mechanisms were also hindering efforts to ensure justice for conflict victims.
A version of this article appears in the print on November 4, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.