Human Rights Watch (HRW) has taken exception to the judicial authorities for not adequately investigating forced “disappearances” or extrajudicial killings. The international rights watchdog, issuing a release on December 1, expressed concern over the Nepali Army’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights even after the cessation of hostilities. The army has been blamed for the torture of detainees and for not providing information in over 600 cases of disappearance. Likewise, the Maoists have drawn flak for giving severe punishment to those not “sufficiently committed” to their cause.

Both the Nepali Army and the Maoists need to bring a big change in their old mindsets in the context of the Jana Andolan II and the November 21 peace treaty that provides for the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission. While the politicians are making commitment to build a new Nepal based on equality and good governance, to remain influenced by past hangovers would only create doubts in the minds of the public about their bona fides. Universally acclaimed fundamental rights and humanitarian laws are there to serve as the foundation upon which the envisioned society can be built. In an era of reconciliation, the fact that the affected families cannot have their queries answered is inexplicable. To demonstrate respect for the high values of modern democratic rule, the government and the Maoists must not wait for the CA polls or something else. Now is the time to act with a clear sense of purpose.