Just too obvious

Thanks in the main to the nine-year-long Maoist insurgency, it has been established that human rights abuses, including torture, extra-judicial killings and disappearances, usually resulting in severe trauma for the victims and their families. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has confirmed this the other day. The AHRC said that a large number of Nepalis have been traumatised.

The problem often outlives any form of rights violations, and the protection of human rights of these individuals is not possible without first addressing their psychological needs.

Nepal today faces an unparalleled human rights issue. The number of forced disappearances is increasing and other forms of gross human rights abuses are just too obvious. Last year alone the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recorded some 1,400 cases of disappearances. Since the security situation has deteriorated over the years with the concept of the rule of law seriously undermined, the people’s rights are barely upheld. Nepali men, women and children have become victims of human rights violations at the hands of both the security forces and the Maoist rebels. Fear, uncertainty, threat and loss of dear ones often result in mental disorder amongst the poor families and relatives of the victims, not to talk of those surviving abduction and torture. If the traumatised seldom come out of the groove, it is not easy to cure them in a short period of time. For instance, everybody knows about the psychological battle the “Vietnam victims” had to fight once the war was over.

As this is a serious issue, providing the psychological support to the victims is imperative. In a country where even basic medical facilities are far from adequate, humanitarian agencies should take note of the problem and do something about it. The traumatised should be taken good care of preferably in medical clinics equipped with trained staff and modern facilities. Only submitting reports and issuing statements would not do. The UN missions in Nepal should be active and get directly involved in providing the essential support to the victims of human rights violations. At the same time, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure security for its citizens and make sure that human rights are not violated.