UN rights chief criticizes Nepal for 'culture of impunity'

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Sunday criticized Nepal [press release, PDF] for failing to hold military and government officials accountable for human rights abuses. Arbour spoke on the anniversary of the 2004 death of a 15-year-old-girl [Nepali Times report] who died during an interrogation by the Nepalese Army, characterizing the government's failure to effectively prosecute military officers for Maina Sunuwar's death as symptomatic of a larger culture of impunity existing within the Nepalese government:

Lack of accountability in this and numerous other cases is helping to perpetuate a culture of impunity in Nepal, and there is a danger this could become a barrier to achieving lasting peace. Maina Sunuwar's case presents a significant opportunity for the Government of Nepal to send a signal that the culture of impunity is ending. The successful prosecution of those responsible for her murder will strengthen the rule of law and uphold victims' rights to a remedy.
Arbour's statement follows comments [JURIST report] made earlier this month in Kathmandu by UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang [official profile] condemning unchecked human rights violations in Nepal.

In September 2005, three Nepalese Army officers were sentenced to six months in jail [JURIST report] for failure to follow proper procedure resulting in Maina's death. The sentencing and trials were dismissed by rights groups [JURIST report] as "a sham." In January 2007, Arbour announced that the UN would work with Nepal [JURIST report] to investigate and bring to justice human rights violators in Nepal. The UN News Centre has more.


 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.