Maoists, govt urged to put an end to torture

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 26:

Legal experts and human rights activists urged the government and the Maoists to end all forms of torture against individuals.

They said this while speaking at a programme on ‘Situation of Conflict Victims and State Responsibility’ jointly organised by the Centre for Victims of Torture and Patan Appellate Court Bar Association to mark the World Day Against Torture today.

Former Law Minister, Subash Chandra Nembang, blamed the government and the Maoists for torturing and violating the rights of the people. “Unless both the sides are ready to give up violence, there will be no rule of law in the country,” he added.

Former member of the National Human Rights Commission, Kapil Shrestha, said due to the current crisis, there is no rule of law in the country. “The UN should monitor Nepal under Item 9 because the government is not serious in protecting the rights of the people, something which is now under Item 19,” he added.

NBA president, Shambhu Thapa, urged the government and the Maoists to shun violence. “We will denounce the government and the Maoists as long as they do not give up violence,” he added.

The NBA’s former president, Harihar Dahal, said there is an urgent need to amend the Torture and Compensation Act 2053 to stop torture effectively.

However, senior Advocate, Bishwa Kanta Mainali, said that torture cannot be controlled unless there is a legal provision to strictly prohibit torture by the security forces.

During the programme, vice-president of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Shiba Gaunle, alleged that the state is torturing journalists. “Due to the conflict, the journalists are not able to work freely,” he added.

Meanwhile, another report from Banke quoted speakers at an interaction held in Nepalgunj today as saying that the State and the Maoists should strictly adhere to international law on human rights.

The programme titled ‘State of torture victims in the present conflict and responsibility of the State and role of civil society’ was organised by the Nepal Bar Association and the Centre for Victims of Torture (CVICT).

Speakers said the State was violating human rights and urged the government to stop torture and give serious thought to abide by international laws.

The NBA’s central vice-president, Kumar Sharma Acharya, pointing out that the State is continuing to violate the commitment that it expressed towards human rights before the international community, said: “The State and Maoists both claim they are fighting for the people but actually their fight is only for self-aggrandisement. Nobody need to do anything. The people are capable of helping themselves.”

Head of Alliance Nepalgunj, Prakash Upadhyaya, said commoners are victims of torture by the State and Maoists, adding, “Innocent people are taken into custody by the State and released after torture. When they return to the village, the Maoists accuse them of acting as government informers and torture them. As a result, the victims are displaced from their village.”

Vice-chairman of the FNJ Banke branch, Jhalak Gaire, said the emergence of a third force is necessary to stem the conflict that is going on between the two militarily-equipped forces. “People are fed up of the fighting. A third force will overshadow both the warring sides,” he added.