Kathmandu, December 1:

The Human Rights Watch said today that not a single case of forced “disappearance” or extra-judicial execution has been adequately investigated by civilian judicial authorities in Nepal.

In a statement issued today, it expressed concern over the army’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights even after the cessation of hostilities in May.

The Nepali Army and Maoist forces should “demonstrate their commitment” to respect human rights, as mentioned in the recent peace agreement, by being accountable for violations that occurred during the decade-long conflict, the HRW said.

The New York-based international rights watchdog, welcoming the November 21 agreement, said: “If the agreement is implemented, it can end the war that has claimed over 13,000 lives. The HRW said: “An end to impunity must be at the top of the political agenda.”

“These agreements are a hopeful step forward for the people of Nepal after years of suffering through repression and civil war,” the statement quoted Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, as saying. He further said: “The army and the Maoists should immediately demonstrate their commitment to basic human rights by cooperating with investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for the atrocities of the past decade.”

It added that the army was yet to provide information about over 600 cases of disappearances. The army was also involved in torture and mistreatment of detainees, it said. Dozens of cases investigated by the HRW as well as Nepali human rights groups demonstrated that detainees were routinely tortured and mistreated by the army, the HRW said. The HRW also flayed the Maoists for severely punishing any Nepalis they deemed as insufficiently committed to their cause.

“It is encouraging that the peace agreement explicitly refers to the plight of the disappeared and demands information about their fate, but that’s not enough,” Adams said stressing people’s call for justice should not be ignored.

It also urged the government to strengthen basic mechanisms for the protection of human rights, such as ensuring the independence of the judiciary and revitalising the National Human Rights Commission.

“Peace without justice is likely to be illusory,” Adams said, adding: “Nepal’s leaders should address the abuses of the past to avoid their recurrence in the future.”