UN hot on Bardiya case rights’ violation heels

Kathmandu, December 19:

The UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today published a list of 170 people in Bardiya district who “disappeared” during the bitter civil war. It cited witness testimony that some died in army custody.

OHCHR said it investigated reports about 156 people who were allegedly taken away by security forces and of 14 otehrs by Maoists in Bardiya, 400 km southwest of Kathmandu.

“Under international law, Nepal has an obligation to investigate these allegations,” said Richard Bennett, country representative, OHCHR.

The Maoists-led government needs to “reveal the full truth about what happened to those individuals who disappeared and to bring to justice those responsible,” Bennett said.

The military seen as loyal to the monarch deposed by the ruling coalition in May has said that 39 of the 156 who were taken away died trying to escape.

Bennett said his organisation had “credible witness testimony suggesting a number of detainees were killed in (military) custody”. The Maoists have confirmed that 12 of the 14 people they abducted were killed on suspicion of being government spies.

As part of the peace deal that ended the civil war in which 13,000 people were killed, the government passed a bill last month to investigate the fate of 1,200 people whose whereabouts still remain unknown.