Saturday, January 13, 2007

OHCHR calls for support to court probe into disappearances

The Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR-Nepal) Friday called for support to Supreme Court Task Force to investigate Bhairabnath Battalion Disappearances saying that it would be crucial to clarify the disappearance cases. A press statement issued by OHCHR-Nepal said that it had taken note of a Supreme Court order issued on 9 January 2007 that a Supreme Court Task Force investigate disappearances carried out by the Bhairabnath Battalion.
The order was made in response to a petition filed by persons who had been detained at Maharajgunj Barracks in Kathmandu. The Task Force was originally established by the Supreme Court in August 2006 to investigate disappearances of individuals named in other petitions. It said OHCHR-Nepal had long been concerned about the government's failure to conduct impartial investigations intothese disappearances, which are described in OHCHR-Nepal's May 2006 Report of investigation into arbitrary detention, torture and disappearances at Maharajgunj RNA barracks, Kathmandu, in 2003-2004, as well as into some 300 other cases of disappearances by the Nepalese Army reported to OHCHR.
While OHCHR-Nepal continues to believe that a credible, competent, impartial and fully independent commission must be set up to investigate and clarify all disappearance cases, the Supreme Court order is an important step towards achieving that goal, the statement added.It is essential that the Task Force be provided with sufficient resources and logistical support to conduct its investigations, and the Nepalese Army and Nepal Police must fully co-operate with it."I am deeply concerned at the lack of response by the government to our reports on disappearances by the Bhairabnath Battalion.
The families of those who have been disappeared continue to have their calls for truth and justice ignored, and this lack of action remains a major stumbling block to establishing a culture of accountability in Nepal, which is so essential to the protection of human rights.It is crucial that the government fulfil its responsibility to establish the fate of the disappeared and ensure that those responsible are brought to account." said Lena Sundh, Representative in Nepal of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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