Not a single war crime punished in Nepal, rues UNApril 19th, 2011 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, April 19 (IANS) Five years after Nepal’s decade-old armed insurrection ended, not a single war crime has been brought to justice, a top UN official rued Tuesday.
Kyung-wha Kang, UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, who arrived here on a three-day visit Monday, said in an address to MPs that it was “deeply troubling” that to date no one had been held accountable for crimes committed during the Maoist conflict.
“Criminal investigations have not moved forward, some perpetrators have even been promoted, and little action has been taken to address and redress the grievance of the victims,” she said.
Though victims paid tremendous physical, psychological and material price, often they were the neglected part of the equation in efforts to fight impunity. “Sadly, this has been the case here in Nepal as well,” she said. “There is a clear need to rectify this gap.”
Over 1,000 people remain missing still with their families in the dark about their fate.
“They need to be relieved of this terrible burden; seeing those responsible held to account will allow them, and all of Nepali society, to move beyond the past conflict period and build confidence in the mechanisms of the state,” Kyung-wha said.
The UN official is also asking Nepal to ensure that the new constitution, to be promulgated by May 28, is based on respect for human rights, the rule of law and justice and equal rights for all.
She noted that some provisions in the draft constitution do not protect basic rights, especially the gender-based discrimination vis-à-vis citizenship provisions that prevents children from receiving citizenship through their mothers.
The UN rights body is calling for a Disappearances Commission to disclose the fate of the missing and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring human rights abusers to justice. Both commissions must be in line with international human rights standards.
The official is also urging Nepal not to grant post-conflict amnesties, including granting pardons or withdrawing criminal charges.
The Maoists, who are now in the ruling alliance, have been demanding such amnesty time and again.
Kyung-wha also said Nepal should establish an independent witness and victim protection system.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Tags: commissions, criminal investigations, draft constitution, gap, grievance, high commissioner, human rights standards, impunity, insurrection, international human rights, kathmandu, law and justice, maoist, material price, perpetrators, rues, rule of law, truth and reconciliation, truth and reconciliation commission, war crime