UN: Nepal must withdraw civil war commission's amnesty power

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called Wednesday on Nepal to withdraw [press release; UN News Centre report] a decree creating a truth and reconciliation with the power to grant amnesties for human rights violations that occurred during Nepal's civil war. The conflict resulted in approximately 13,000 deaths with another 1,300 missing. The 2006 peace accord which ended the conflict agreed to establish a commission to investigate human rights abuses, but such a commission had not been established until now. Pillay stated that "[a]n amnesty for those who committed serious human rights violations will deny the right of thousands of Nepalese to truth and justice. This will not provide a sustainable road to peace." Pillay also expressed concern with the manner in which the ordinance was passed and stated that human rights organizations and the victims and their families should have been consulted. The commission further has the power to act without the consent of those affected by the alleged human rights abuses. Pillay stressed that "[y]ou cannot, and should not, force people to reconcile. Reconciliation, by its nature is a voluntary act." Pillay called on Nepal to withdraw the decree and also strengthen the country's domestic laws on torture and enforced disappearances.

In January the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [official website] called on the Nepal government to cooperate with an investigation [JURIST report] into allegations leveled against Nepal Army Colonel Kumar Lama who is charged with two counts of torture during Nepal's civil war. In October the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] released a report [text, PDF] urging justice for victims of international law violations [JURIST report] that occurred during Nepal's civil war. In April Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] and the ICJ urged Nepal to reject blanket amnesty [JURIST report] for crimes committed during the countries civil war. In April 2011 Kyung-Wha Kang [official profile], the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned [JURIST report] Nepal for its reluctance to prosecute war crimes and for its lack of progress on women's rights. OHCHR and HRW [JURIST reports] have both appealed to the Nepalese government to investigate human rights violations committed during the civil war.

 

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