Tuesday, April 24, 2007

OHCHR expresses concerns over disappeared people
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal has said that no meaningful steps have yet been taken to find out the whereabouts of disappeared citizens and that the perpetrators of serious human rights violations continue to enjoy total impunity even after a year of the restoration of democracy.
In a statement issued on the occasion of the first anniversary of Loktantra Tuesday, the OHCHR-Nepal said establishing rule of law is essential to ending impunity, as well as to ensuring respect for a broader range of human rights. By starting a process of change, the government and political leaders have demonstrated courage and a willingness to address certain critical human rights issues.
The statement read, "Bringing about deep and meaningful change to strengthen human rights protection in the long term takes time and requires the collaborative efforts of all sectors of Nepalese society. With political will, there is much that can be done in the short term to satisfy the human rights aspirations of the Nepalis people."
It stressed the need to create an environment for the constituent assembly elections with adequate security, and without fear, intimidation or violence must be a priority. "This is the responsibility of all political leaders, but especially the government. Law enforcement agencies have a special role in ensuring these conditions," the statement added.
OHCHR also urged the government to act quickly to appoint new commissioners so that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) could fully play the key role in promoting and protecting human rights throughout the peace and electoral process.
"One of the most pressing needs is to address accountability and the right to justice of the many who have suffered violations or abuses at the hands of the State or the Maoists, both during and after hostilities. Probe commission reports such as that of the Rayamajhi Commission have never been made public or their recommendations implemented," the OHCHR statement read.
"The progress that has been made in human rights must not be taken for granted. There is much more which needs to be done, with many challenges lying ahead. OHCHR-Nepal reiterates its commitment to do all it can to assist in strengthening the protection of human rights in support of the peace and electoral process," the statement quoted Lena Sundh, chief of OHCHR as saying.

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