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Fulmati Nyaya, a 14-year old girl victim of multiple rape and other forms of sexual violence

12.02.2016 ( Last modified: 16.09.2020 )

The case

Arrest, rape and other forms of torture

In April 2002 Fulmati Nyaya (pseudonym) was a 14 years old girl, member of an indigenous community living in the southern region of the Terai. She was arbitrarily arrested by members of the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) and of the Armed Police Forces (APF) on 2 April 2002 and taken to the army barracks where she was kept incommunicado for over one month and a half. During this period, she was subjected to repeated rape and other forms of sexual violence. She also suffered other forms of torture, including beatings, prolonged blindfolding, handcuffing and death threats. Moreover, while being held captive, she was subjected to forced labour. Fulmati Nyaya was eventually forced to sign a confession admitting her involvement in terrorist activities and obliged to become an informant and periodically report to the army barracks for almost a year after her release.

Adverse long-term consequences

During her detention, Fulmati Nyaya never received any medical attention. Today, as a consequence of the torture endured, she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe physical impairments. Upon returning to her home village, she became a social outcast as she was perceived as “impure”. She had to leave school for over two years to avoid future shame. After her marriage, Fulmati Nyaya’s husband heard rumours about her mistreatment in detention and he repudiated her sending her back to her home village cutting all contacts for more than two years.

Unsuccessful attempts to obtain justice redress

Nepalese authorities refused to register her claims because she did not report the rape within the 35 days terms of limitation after the crime as requested by Nepalese laws. On 11 April 2014 Fulmati Nyaya submitted a complaint to the Supreme Court of Nepal. The claim is currently pending, but she has no real prospect of success, considering that the Court has never decided in favor of victims of sexual violence in previous individual cases.

The victim seized the HRC

In June 2014 TRIAL International (then called TRIAL) submitted a communication to the Human Rights Committee (HRC) on behalf of Fulmati Nyaya, alleging several violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In particular, she requested the HRC to acknowledge that:

On 20 May 2019, the HRC issued a positive decision, recognizing for the first time the existence of forced labor in Nepal and  proposing a holistic approach to sexual violence.

Read more about the decision

General Context

The facts of this case must be read in the context of the human rights abuses, including widespread torture and sexual violence, perpetrated during the 10-year internal armed conflict. In particular, rape was perpetrated in a systematic manner and many women were silenced by the stigma attached to sexual violence both in war and peacetime. At the time of writing, not a single perpetrator has been convicted for rape committed during the conflict and this climate of absolute impunity has been fostered by flawed legislation.

 

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