Nembang pledges all help to end torture

Kathmandu, August 14:

Chairman of the Constituent Assembly Subas Chandra Nembang toady said he would do the needful to get the Istanbul Protocol ratified. The protocol is expected to strengthen the Torture Compensation Act (ACT).

Nembang said this while inaugurating a three-day conference on ‘Increasing Capacity in Legal Medical Documentation in Nepal by way of Introducing the Istanbul Protocol’ organised by Advocacy Forum.

Nembang said he would raise voice to bring a bill to end torture and domestic violence in the parliament once the new government is formed.

Even after 12 years of promulgation of TCA, only 208 detainees demanded compensation, according to a report recently prepared by Advocacy Forum, an organisation working for human rights.

The Advocacy Forum met 13,754 detainees and documented 5,342 cases across the country in seven years.

Among 208 detainees, 57 cases were filed by the forum and 151 by various organisations and individuals. However, of those cases, decision was made in favour of only 52 victims to provide compensation and only seven of them received funds.

Executive director of Advocacy Forum Mandira Sharma said TCA has failed to deliver justice to detainees. “The act has not been able to address the needs of torture victims.” Ratification of the Istanbul protocol would reinforce the ACT, she said.

Member of the National Human Right Commission Gauri Pradhan said the protocol would provide comprehensive guidelines to investigate cases of torture. “Domestic

violence is also a form of torture.” The protocol would help reduce cases of domestic violence, he added.

Pradhan said the NHRC was investigating a number of cases related to torture.

“The NHRC has been following operational guidelines of the protocol to investigate the cases,” he added.

Director-general of the Health Department Govinda Prasad Ojha said the Ministry of Health and Population had regarded violation of rights as a torture.

He added that gender dimension should be prioritised while investigating cases of torture.

Doctors, lawyers, security officials, human rights activists and civil society leaders are taking part in the conference.