Monday, February 27, 2006

NHRC says Missing people reported as encounter victims

Kathmandu Feb 27-According to NHRC record for the period of 2000 to 2006 mid-January, 830 individuals out of a total of 1,773 cases of disappearances are yet to be accounted for. However, 57 missing individuals have been killed, 527 have been released while 359 are still in detention under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Control and Punishment Ordinance (TADO).

There are over 250 abducted individuals who are yet to be released by the Maoists. “The problem is that those who have been released either from security detention or Maoist custody rarely inform the NHRC about their status. Thus it is difficult to accurately update the data,” said the NHRC source. The NHRC has now been gathering data and verifying the status of those missing and abduction cases by personally meeting the victims’ families and relatives in various parts of the country.

“NHRC officials have found that some of those who were earlier under the list of missing people have now been released. They have even met the released individuals themselves,” he said. The disappearance cases touched a record high in 2004 but drastically declined in 2005 particularly during the ceasefire. Since the Maoists’ abduction pattern “changes”, it is difficult to analyse the trend.

“The security forces have time and again told us that some of the missing individuals, the whereabouts of whom were never acknowledged by the forces, died in cross-firings,” an NHRC source told reports himalaya times . “How can individuals whom the RNA all along claimed not to have any knowledge about suddenly die in cross-firings?” he questioned.

The chief of RNA’s legal unit, Brigadier General BA Kumar Sharma, denied the allegations. The RNA has never claimed that those whom they previously denied to have any information about died in encounters. “But of course we admit if the concerned parties die in encounters,” he said. Sharma maintained that the RNA has always made efforts to respect human rights.

Mainwhile,Amnesty International (AI) has urged the government for the immediate and unconditional release of all those who were arrested for staging the protests again royal regime.

“ The government should immediately free hundreds of detained people including Krishna Pahadi, Dr Devendra Raj Pandey, Dr Mathura Prased Shrestha, Shyam Shrestha and Kundan Raj Kafle,” appeals AI.

Scores of leaders and activists belonging to political parties and civil society were arbitrarily detained throughout the country following a wave of arrests that began on 19 January

Krishna Pahadi, Devendra Raj Pandey and Mathura Prasad Shrestha are being held at the National Police Academy whereas Shyam Shrestha and Kundan Raj Kafle are being kept at the Armed Police Force Barracks No. 2 in Ranibari.

AI expressed serious concern over medical and other basic facilities being provided to detainees.
There are burning concerns that all five may not have access to clean drinking water and that they may be in dire need of medical attention, commented AI.

"All five men are prominent peace activists and human rights defenders have been arrested as a result of the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly," said AI.

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