THT 10 YEARS AGO: Govt accused of protecting torture architects

Kathmandu, June 26, 2007

Though Nepal has acceded to the UN Convention Against Torture, it has not yet ratified the Convention’s Optional Protocol. Instead, the go vernment is providing “political protection” to perpetrators of torture, an interaction was told here today.

A working paper presented by the Forum for Protection of People’s Rights Nepal said only 48 out of the 275 torture cases filed in the last 10 years in different courts have been settled.

More interestingly, only four of the 48 persons have been compensated so far. The interaction was organised at the NHRC’s office on the occasion of the UN International Day for Torture Victims’ Support today.

At a time when human rights organisations, including the National Human Rights Commission, have been mounting pressure on the government to ratify the Rome Statute International Criminal Court (ICC), human rights activists, parliamentarians and members of civil society said at the interaction that the government has not shown interest in brining the perpetrators to book.

They said leaders must have political commitment to end the practice of torture and impunity. “PM Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist supremo Prachanda have been mainly responsible for not ratifying the ICC,” Khatiwada said, adding that the perpetrators of torture are being given “political protection” in the country.

Maoist bandh shuts four Tarai districts

Siraha, June 26, 2007

Normal life in the Tarai districts of Saptari, Siraha, Sunsari and Udayapur was affected due to the bandh called by the CPN-Maoist and its sister organisations today.

The Maoists have called an indefinite bandh as a mark of protest against attacks and killing of Maoist cadres. Bandh supporters seized an ambulance of the Community Development Service Centre (Udayapur) for defying the bandh at Simara and returned it after four hours.

Demonstrators also blocked traffic by placing logs at Padampurchowk on a section of the Siraha-Chuharwa road.

Maoist cadres closed the Land Revenue Office, Land Reforms Office, District Customs Office and Siraha municipality today. Business entrepreneurs in Lahan, demanding security, submitted a memorandum to the Lahan Area Police Office today.

Last night, Young Communist League (YCL) cadres set ablaze a bus headed for Dharan from Kathmandu at Mahaniya VDC, police said.

Passengers travelling in the bus have been stranded. Educational institutions, business centres and industries in Lahan, Mirchaiya and Golbazaar areas were closed, while vehicles chose not to venture out on the roads.

The bandh called by the Maoist-affiliated Tharu Kalyankarini Sava affected normal life in Udayapur today as well.