new victims supported


new case at domestic level


new cases at international level


legal practitioners trained


annual budget (CHF)

With documentation missions into remote regions and a focus on highly taboo sexual crimes, TRIAL International hopes to facilitate justice for even the most vulnerable victims.

Worrying legislative initiatives reveal tense climate

In spring 2018, the draft of a National Integrity Policy was proposed. Some of its provisions, posing direct threats to international NGOs operating in Nepal, were heavily criticized domestically and internationally – including by four UN Special Rapporteurs.

Read more: Why is Nepal so anxious about international scrutiny?

In a move to reform the transitional justice process, the Nepalese authorities proposed an amendment to the Act of Commission on Investigation of Disappeared Persons, Truth and Reconciliation 2014.

Watch: Kamala Katwal remembers the disappearance of her father

However, considerable loopholes prompted TRIAL International and its partners to submit an analysis of the amendment to the authorities. A consultative process that should have started in September 2018 was postponed sine die.

Read more: Draft bill on transitional justice falls short of international standards

Local structure spreads its wings

Last year, TRIAL International opened its first permanent structure in Nepal – the Human Rights and Justice Centre (HRJC). The official inauguration of the Centre took place in February 2018 in Kathmandu.

Read more: Brand new Human Rights and Justice Centre opens in Nepal

The HRJC’s operating mode is unique in Nepal: its permanent staff collaborates with a roster of lawyers, each trained in international litigation. New cases and research assignments are appointed to the most suitable lawyer, who is supported and advised by the HRJC staff throughout the proceedings. In December 2018, 24 lawyers had already joined the roster and applications remain open.

Read more about the HJRC

International awareness crucial in the face of domestic inaction

In 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee gave three decisions in favor of Nepalese torture victims represented by TRIAL International. Although positive, these steps precede a more substantial challenge: the implementation of these decisions by the Nepalese authorities.

Read more: Calling for Real Rights Now for conflict victims

Similarly, in the face of domestic inaction, a new case of sexual violence was brought before the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. The victim, supported by the HRJC, found herself in a deadlock when the police declined to register her complaint – and a domestic court upheld this refusal. Thus, the international arena remained her only avenue for justice.

Fighting the deafening silence around sexual violence

Conflict-related sexual violence remains widely underreported in Nepal, especially in remote regions where support structures are limited. To bridge this gap, TRIAL International conducted several documentation missions in western Nepal. There, it provided legal counselling to 20 women who opened up – most of them for the first time – on the sexual crimes they had suffered. A more comprehensive documentation process was initiated, in view of getting justice for these cases.

Learn more about conflict-related sexual violence

The sheer number of actors working on sexual violence can be overwhelming for already vulnerable survivors. This is why TRIAL International brought together all major organizations working on the subject in December 2018. The workshop resulted in the comprehensive mapping of available support structures, aiming to strengthen collaboration and provide holistic support to victims.

Finally, TRIAL International also seeks to strengthen the Nepalese law to better protect the rights of sexual violence victims. Two reports calling for legislative reforms were submitted to the United Nations in September 2018.