Thursday, April 12, 2007

OHCHR-Nepal asks govt to form probe commission on disappearances
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR Nepal) has expressed concern about the uncertainty over investigation into the allegations of forced disappearances from the Nepal Army’s Bhairabnath Battalion in Kathmandu.
“OHCHR-Nepal remains concerned about the continuing uncertainty regarding investigations into the allegations of torture and disappearances from the Bhairabnath Battalion barracks in 2003. Almost one year from the date that OHCHR presented its report on these cases to the Government, a full and independent inquiry has yet to be established,” an OHCHR-Nepal statement issued today said.
The OHCHR also said the Army never made public the report of its special investigation into the cases nor did it provide the OHCHR-Nepal with a copy despite repeated requests.
The UN rights body further said it had noted "unprecedented investigations" carried out by the Supreme Court Task Force into the arrest and forced disappearance of Rajendra Dhakal, Bipin Bhandari and Dil Baharur Rai, and Chakra Bahadur Katuwal in 1999, 2002 and 2001 respectively. The Task Force’s report presented to the SC on 8 April 2007 concluded that there was a general practice of arbitrary arrest, torture, murder and systematic and widespread enforced disappearances as part of the state’s counterinsurgency programme during the conflict.
The Task Force also concluded that members of the security forces were responsible for the arrests, and named individual security force members as responsible for the four disappearances, as well as in one case of death in custody.
The Task Force in its report had recommended that the court issued a directive to the government to set up a high level commission of inquiry into disappeared persons while the government has also expressed commitment in its Common Minimum Programme to investigate in the disappearances.
“OHCHR-Nepal is calling on the Interim Government to fulfill this commitment by holding broad consultations with civil society and other stakeholders in order to establish a credible, competent, independent commission to look into those who disappeared after arrest by security forces or abduction by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist),” the statement said and that such a commission should have powers to order access to documents and subpoena individuals to appear before them.
“Delays in setting up proper, independent inquiries to clarify the fate of all the disappeared is simply prolonging the agony of their families, who do not know the whereabouts of their loved ones or what happened to them, as well as denying them the right to truth and justice,” OHCHR-Nepal chief Lena Sundh, said.
Earlier, the OHCHR-Nepal and the National Human Rights Commission had revealed that at least 49 detainees disappeared from the Bhairabnath Battalion in 2003.

No comments: