Number of complaints of disappearances exceed official data

Kathmandu, May 30

The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons has received more disappearance-related complaints than the number recorded in the government data.

The CIEDP has collected at least 1,523 complaints of enforced disappearances that occurred during the Maoist insurgency. According to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction data, only 1,495 had disappeared during the decade-long armed insurgency that ended in November 2006.

“The number of complaints has surpassed the official record of disappearances,” CIEDP spokesperson Prof Bishnu Pathak told THT

“Given the trend of form distribution, we believe some 600 to 800 more complaints are likely to be received by mid-June, when the complaint-receiving campaign ends,” he added.

As per the MoPR record, a total of 1,495 citizens were identified as forcefully disappeared by the warring parties  the state or the Maoists during the conflict. A financial relief of Rs 525,000 was extended to each of their families or dependants.

The ministry also extended such support to families of 35 other people, claiming they disappeared during the insurgency. However, the CIEDP has not recognised them as ‘genuine victims’ and their names, addresses and alleged perpetrators are not mentioned in its data, Pathak said.

The CIEDP has been receiving complaints on disappearance cases since April 14, and will continue to do so until mid-June. At least 1,000 more forms are with the victims and they are expected to submit them before the deadline.

It is learnt that complaints of forceful disappearance have also been made from districts, where, according to MoPR’s data, not a single person was disappeared. Rukum is one such district.

As many as 45 such cases have been registered at the CIEDP in Rukum. In Ilam, 17 disappearance cases have been registered but as per the government record there were only four such cases whose kin were given the relief package.

Pathak said many people might not have reported cases due to direct or perceived threats from the perpetrators.

“More people have shown courage to take action against the perpetrators,” he said. “It also means victims are hopeful that the CIEDP would give them justice.”