Nepal | October 23, 2020

Rights activists urge govt to sign OPCAT

Ram Kumar Kamat
Share Now:

Kathmandu, May 20

Human rights activists want the government to sign the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture to enable an independent body to effectively monitor rights compliance in jails and detention centres across the country. This, they say, will deter law enforcement officers from torturing detainees and inmates.

Article 1 of OPCAT provisions regular visits by independent international and national bodies to jails and detention centres to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Signing OPCAT will place a moral obligation on the government to form an independent mechanism to monitor rights compliance in jails and detention centres across the country.

Programme Manager of Advocacy Forum-Nepal Bikash Basnet said, “Nepal is a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and can question other countries’ human rights compliance. If the government does not sign OPCAT, its commitment to human rights may be questioned.” Basnet added, “Nepal Police had allowed us to monitor jails and detention centres, but after we filed cases against some police officers who had violated detainees’ human rights and as some foreign embassies put those officers in the vetting list, the NP denied us access to detention centres.”

He said detainees had the right to hold confidential consultation with their lawyers, but there was hardly any detention centre that complied with this provision. He said the 2016 torture report prepared by his office stated that around 16 per cent detainees had alleged that police tortured them.

Human Rights lawyer Mohan Kumar Karna said signing OPCAT could ensure independent and effective monitoring of detention centres as both government and private sector representatives could be represented in such a mechanism. “The government has to ensure no detainee or inmate is tortured or subjected to ill-treatment. All reports of UN human rights related committees have told the government to effectively monitor jails and detention centres,” Karna said.

Joint-secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Kaushal Chandra Subedi, who heads the Human Rights and International Treaties Bureau, however, said the government had no plan  to sign OPCAT as  there were already two authorities — Office of the Attorney General and National Human Rights Commission — monitoring jails and detention centres. “I don’t think the government needs to form another mechanism. As far as I know, OPCAT provisions are for counties where independent bodies do not exist.


A version of this article appears in print on May 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 41.19 million, death toll at 1,130,036

LONDON: More than 41.19 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,130,036​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December Read More...

Bale starts for Spurs in comfortable 3-0 win over LASK

LONDON: Gareth Bale started for Tottenham Hotspur for the first time in seven years and helped them to a 3-0 win over Austria’s LASK in their first match of the Europa League group phase on Thursday. Lucas Moura opened the scoring after 18 minutes and Bale’s square pass was turned Read More...

Free COVID treatment people’s right: Deuba

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 22 The main opposition Nepali Congress today condemned the government’s decision to charge people for COVID-19 test and treatment. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba issued a press release demanding repeal of the government’s decision. Deuba urged the government to provide Read More...

‘NHRC report a positive step towards justice’

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 22 A recent report published by the National Human Rights Commission that features details of human rights violations committed by 286 persons in the last two decades is a step towards ensuring accountability and combating impunity for human rights abuses in Nepal, said Asian N Read More...

Media houses asked to provide salary, facilities to working journalists

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 22 The Federation of Nepali Journalists has demanded that all the media houses immediately release due payments, including regular remuneration and Dashain allowance to working journalists and employees. Issuing a statement here today, FNJ General Secretary Ramesh Bista made Read More...

Special security strategy for festivals

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 22 The Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokhari, has enforced a special security strategy in Kathmandu valley, bearing in mind potential criminal and unlawful activities during the festive season. According to MPO, the new security arrangements were put in place to make secur Read More...

NA to organise symbolic Phulpati Badhai today

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 22 The Nepali Army is going to organise Phulpati Badhai ceremony tomorrow at Sainik Manch in Tundikhel, Kathmandu. The day marks the seventh day of the 10-day Dashain festival. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, the supreme commander-in-chief of Nepali Army, will grace the e Read More...

Manang Village, Marshyangdi river, Gangapurna lake

Hotels in Manang reopen

LAMJUNG, OCTOBER 22 The hotels that closed for the past many months due to coronavirus have resumed operation at Manang Disyang Rural Municipality, Manang. Hotels in Pisang, Ngawal, Humde, Bhakra, Tankigaun, Tankimanang, Gharu and Khangsar of the rural municipality opened on October 14. Tou Read More...