KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 21
On the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, victims associations and national and international human rights organisations called for an end to delays in the truth and justice process for thousands of conflict victims in Nepal.
As many as 41 groups of victims, 40 national and six international human rights organisations in Nepal reiterated that the Government of Nepal must take immediate and urgent steps to revive the transitional justice process by making it open, transparent, consultative, and credible.
“Today, marks 15 years of false hope, dissatisfaction, and unresolved agony for conflict victims, victim families, and the entire national and international human rights community, as the government continuously fails to deliver on one of the commitments made in the CPA on 21 November 2006,” they said in a joint press release.
The CPA formally ended the decade-long armed conflict and made commitments to make the whereabouts of the ‘forcefully disappeared’ public within 60 days, and to ‘investigate truth about people seriously violating human rights and those involved in crimes against humanity’. Sadly, 15 years later, today, the victims and their families continue to wait to hear news of their loved ones, while the investigation of truths is mired under a sham process, they said.
According to the release, the existing transitional justice commissions – Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappeared Persons – are in stark contrast to what was promised to the citizens of Nepal.
The commissions’ have been widely perceived to have been formed under political influence under a flawed law, which the Supreme Court ordered to amend to disallow amnesty in cases of grave human rights violations. Despite the SC ruling in February 2015, the Act is yet to be amended in conformity with Nepal’s local and international legal obligations.
“Existing TJ mechanisms are dysfunctional and they have failed to secure trust and cooperation of stakeholders, including the victims.
They have rather prevented victims’ access to the regular justice system and they have served to promote impunity for perpetrators. This obstacle to access to justice not only closes all doors for victims but also weakens the rule of law and victim’s hope for justice,” the groups and organisations said.
“We express our deep displeasure at government’s failure to initiate a credible TJ process as per the SC ruling, in particular, its failure to amend the TRC Act, to initiate genuinely meaningful consultations with victims and to initiate an open, fair, transparent and independent process of selecting the commissioners on the TJ bodies, and to implement the National Human Rights Commission’s recommendations,” they said.
They also called on the international community to have coordinated strategies to press the Nepal government to make tangible progress on TJ without further delay and not be part of the government’s tactics to delay and dilute victims’ right to truth, justice and reparation as well as end of impunity and guarantee of non-repetition of abuses.
A version of this article appears in the print on November 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.