Drop in disappearance cases after April, says NHRC

Kathmandu, December 31:

With hopes of permanent peace running high among Nepalis following the successful Jana Andolan II, human rights violations have also considerably gone down. But the picture on the human rights front is not as rosy as one would want it to be.

“Although cases against abductions and killings continue to be registered at NHRC, not a single case of disappearance has occurred following the unilateral ceasefire called by the Maoists on April 26,” said Basudev Bajgain, protection officer at the NHRC, talking to this daily today.

On the downside — human rights violations such as killings by the security personnel as well as the Maoists and abductions by the latter haven’t come to a complete halt, he said Bajgain.

The Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) data, which looked into rights abuses from January to November 2006 holds the state responsible for 247 killings. Nine were killed between May and October. No killings were recorded at the hands of the security forces in November.

The Maoists weren’t that far behind. INSEC has recorded 241 killings at the hands of the Maoists in the first 11 months of 2006 with 22 of them during the first six months of the ceasefire that came into effect from May. “Human rights violations have reduced in numbers but the Maoists continue to engage in killings, abduction, terror and extortion activities,” said Subodh Pyakurel, chairman of INSEC. The police personnel are a mute spectator to public incidents of physical abuse of civilians by the Maoists.

He also criticised the government for failing to address human rights violations and not bringing the guilty to book. Security personnel continue to enjoy impunity for human rights abuses committed during the conflict while the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is yet to be formed.

He said the interim statute is not clear on the mandate of Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“The sole idea behind the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is exposing the truth about past rights violations and getting the victims to forgive the guilty, he said. Without investigative powers, the Commission will fail to dig deep enough which will lead the victims of injustice to be overwhelmed by vengeance.”

He said that a large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are returning home. Pyakurel, on the other hand, said a majority of IDPs are unable to return home and claim that Maoists are continuing to threat them. The government has failed to take measures to rehabilitate the war victims, he added.