Real Rights Now: Nepali victims don’t need words, they need change
Kathmandu/London/Geneva, 26 February 2016 – Illegal arrests, torture, enforced disappearances: for years, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) has repeatedly found Nepal responsible for gross human rights violations against its own citizens. Despite these many decisions, the government has shown no sign of properly compensating victims and letting justice prevail. Today, civil society organizations TRIAL, REDRESS and Advocacy Forum launch a joint campaign to demand justice for victims of international crimes in Nepal.
For one year, partner NGOs TRIAL, REDRESS and Advocacy Forum will give the floor to the victims’ stories, highlighting their long – and on-going – fight for truth and justice. This campaign, entitled
“Real Rights Now”, calls on the government to act on the United Nations’ decisions and finally acknowledge the victims’ rights and needs. A website compiling the victims’ stories and tools for action is available.
Ineffective rights, stalled situation
Since 2006, the NGOs have submitted 25 complaints before the HRC on behalf of Nepalese victims. To date, eleven of those have resulted in decisions. Each time, the United Nations has recognized Nepal’s responsibility and required it to investigate the cases, prosecute the perpetrators and compensate the victims.
These decisions sparked great hope amongst the victims, whose quest for justice had often lasted many years. They have been, however, bitterly disappointed by the government’s inertia.
“I was overjoyed when I learnt that I had won the case before the United Nations”, explains Ram Kumar Bhandari, whose father was unlawfully arrested and has never been seen since. “I thought the authorities were at last going to acknowledge my father’s disappearance, and punish the perpetrators. But that was not the case: more than a year after the decision, nothing has changed for me.”
“I had lost all hope of receiving justice,” says Yashoda Sharma, whose husband disappeared after he was arrested by the army in 2002. However, submitting my case to the Human Rights Committee raised a shimmer of hope in me. The Committee gave the decision I was expecting: its recommendation to locate my husband within 180 days and to compensate my family was really good. Yet I am still deprived of justice”.
Real rights for victims, now!
The failure to implement decisions of the Human Rights Committee sends a dangerous message that human rights violations can go unpunished and that the Nepali justice system does not make victims’ rights its priority. The campaign calls for the authorities to uphold their international obligations, follow the United Nations decisions and finally bring victims long-awaited justice.
For more information