OHCHR Clarification :

In reference to the news report “Louise Arbour wants Rayamajhi-indicted brought to book” (THT, Jan. 22), it is to be clarified that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her dialogue with the human rights community in Nepalgunj on 21 January, did say that holding those accountable for serious human rights abuses — both from the CPN (Maoist) and the State security forces — is a first priority for human rights protection. However, the high commissioner did not specifically refer to individuals named in the Rayamajhi Commission report, nor did she refer to people named by the Rayamajhi Commission as being indicted or found guilty. In each of her public engagements in Nepal, she has strongly stated the need for accountability for past human rights violations, and the importance of ending impunity in order to build durable peace. However, due process is a fundamental element of the rule of law, and this includes the presumption of innocence until proven guilty of an offense. As an eminent jurist, as well as the United Nations High ommissioner for Human Rights, Arbour is unwavering in her commitment to the protections afforded to accused persons in accordance with international human rights standards.

In spite of formal requests to the government, OHCHR has not yet received a copy of the report of the Rayamajhi Commission. It therefore cannot at this stage comment on the findings, including the recommendations of the commission with regard to individuals who they may have considered to have been involved in serious human rights violations. OHCHR strongly urges the government to make public the report. It continues to advocate that those responsible for human rights violations during the April anti-government protests must be brought to justice.

Kieran Dwyer, Spokesperson, OHCHR-Nepal

Wrong focus :

Even though it is weeks since the hanging of Saddam Hussein, I find it hard to forget the ghastly episode. The focus should be on removing crime, not criminals. The biggest achievement of the tribunal would have been to make Saddam realise the gravity of his crimes against humanity rather than make him hold his head high even in the face of death. Though man is considered the most intelligent of animals, his many acts are fit only for animals. Nobody can defend Saddam’s crimes, but those who hanged him are not innocent, either. His hanging has only triggered more violence and killings in Iraq. Furthermore, in the 21st century, death sentence does not appear to be a civilised kind of punishment.

Archana Sharma, via e-mail


Protesting against the Druk regime will not be enough to solve the Bhutanese refugee problem. Thimphu has already heaped false accusations on Nepal and the refugees. What will repatriation solve without political and social changes in Bhutan? On the contrary, there is a great danger that the Bhtanese refugees might be subjected to greater discrimination and torture back home if they are repatriated in the present situation.

Khem Regmi, via e-mail