Saturday, November 26, 2005

Nepal troops earn UN rap for torture

Geneva, Nov 26 -Torture by Nepal’s security forces is widespread and authorities are doing too little to stop it, a UN human rights panel said . The UN Committee Against Torture said it was “gravely concerned about the exceedingly large number of consistent and reliable reports concerning the widespread use of torture and ill treatment by law enforcement personnel,” including the police and army. It also complained about “the absence of measures to ensure an effective protection of all members of society.” The committee, which monitors compliance with an international accord banning torture, earlier this month reviewed a regular report by Nepal which, like other countries, must show what it is doing to abide by the treaty.

The committee also raised concerns about lengthy periods of detention and interrogation techniques that go against international human rights laws. It pointed to “contemptuous non-compliance” by the security forces of court decisions to release detainees. The committee welcomed Nepal’s creation of human rights units within its security forces, but noted that the country needed an independent body that could investigate acts of torture. People also lack protection from reprisals and intimidation if they complain, and the burden of proof lies with victims, it added.
“The committee acknowledges the difficult situation of internal armed conflict” in Nepal, it said, adding that it was also “alarmed by the high incidence of atrocities, including use of torture” by the rebels. “However, it points out that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

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