Govt ‘neglect’ of report on disappearances flayed

OHCHR wants the guilty punished

Kathmandu, January 12:

The OHCHR-Nepal today said it is deeply concerned over the lack of response by the Nepal Government to its reports on disappearances by the Bhairabnath Battalion.

“I am deeply concerned at the lack of response by the Government to our reports on disappearances by the Bhairabnath Battalion. The families of those who have been disappeared continue to have their calls for truth and justice ignored, and this lack of action remains a major stumbling block to establishing a culture of accountability in Nepal, which is so essential to the protection of human rights,” Lena Sundh, Representative in Nepal of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement here today.

Sundh, in the statement, also said that it is “crucial that the Government fulfil its responsibility to establish the fate of the disappeared and ensure that those responsible are brought to account.”

The statement says that OHCHR-Nepal has “taken note” of a Supreme Court order issued on January 9 , 2007, that a Supreme Court Task Force investigate disappearances

carried out by the Bhairabnath Battalion.

The order was in response to a petition filed by persons who had been detained at Maharajgunj Barracks in Kathmandu. The Task Force was established by the Supreme Court in August 2006 to investigate disappearances of individuals named in other petitions.

It also said that while OHCHR-Nepal continues to believe that a credible, competent, impartial and fully independent commission must be set up to investigate and clarify all disappearance cases, the Supreme Court order is an important step towards achieving that goal.

“It is essential that the Task Force be provided with sufficient resources and logistical support to conduct its investigations, and the Nepalese Army and Nepal Police must fully cooperate with it,” it said.

“OHCHR-Nepal has long been concerned about the Government’s failure to conduct impartial investigations into these disappearances, which are described in OHCHR-Nepal’s May 2006 ‘Report of investigation into arbitrary detention, torture and disappearances at Maharajgunj RNA barracks, Kathmandu, in 2003-2004’, as well as into some 300 other cases of disappearances by the Nepalese Army reported to OHCHR,” the statement said.