Novel coronavirus hits conflict victims hard

Conflict victims have accused the govt and opposition parties of neglecting recommendations of the apex court and international bodies


Conflict victims have accused the government of neglecting them, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had compounded their suffering.

“Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, there is a lack of sincere effort to include our community in the list of citizens, who need special attention in relief and facilities. Most of the victims are living with the fear of COVID-19 and face severe financial crises. Immovable properties of hundreds are still under captivity, despite the government’s repeated commitments to return them. There are legal hurdles for the families of enforced disappeared victims to even sell their property,” read a joint press release issued by 40 organisations, including Conflict Victims Common Platform, Conflict Victims National Alliance, Conflict Victim Women National Network and National Network of Disabled Conflict Victims.

“We are surprised to see the government chanting the slogan ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ while continually ignoring the victims’ reasonable demands for truth, justice and reparation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons have not spoken a single word about the role the state has to play towards victims during the pandemic,” read the release.

Even after almost five years of implementation of the new constitution and 15 years of signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, the conflict victims have been awaiting justice and reparation. Political and constitutional changes have no significance in the lives of conflict victims.

The culture of impunity is flourishing now more than ever.

“We have not only been a witness to the double standards of the state, but have also been its victims,” read the release.

“A series of judgments by the Supreme Court have kept our hopes alive. However, the apex court’s orders are not being implemented, nor will they likely be, any time soon. The National Human Rights Commission has repeatedly made recommendations to the government regarding transitional justice. Our demands have been repeatedly raised before the international bodies. But we are still deprived of the right to know what happened to our relatives during the conflict,” it read.

According to the organisations, the government and opposition parties, and their leaders continue to turn a blind eye towards those recommendations without any shame. Nothing has been done to investigate past incidents, bring the perpetrators to justice, ensure non-repetition of past activities and safeguard and protect the future generation from the horror of violent conflict and war.

All these years, the victims of sexual crimes and torture, who have been discriminated by the government, have not been brought into the realm of interim relief, stated the release.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.