During the Nepalese civil war between 1996 and 2006, Amnesty International documented the killing, enforced disappearance and torture of thousands of civilians. These crimes and other human rights violations were committed by the army, the police and Maoist forces.
However, more than two years after the adoption of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement, none of those responsible for these horrific crimes, whether committed by state security forces or members of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), have so far been brought to justice and victims continue to wait for justice and redress.
On Friday 1 May, Amnesty International launched a year-long national campaign for justice, truth and reparations in Nepal.
The election of a new government in 2008 brings an opportunity to address impunity and take measures to ensure that these crimes will never be committed again in Nepal.
However, the new government has been slow to implement its election commitments on these issues. Furthermore, there are concerns that the measures it plans to take – which include providing amnesties to perpetrators – will reinforce rather than end impunity in Nepal.
In the next 12 months, Amnesty International will issue a series of global actions to demand that the government of Nepal takes meaningful steps to ensure justice, truth and reparations for the victims.
Amnesty International is calling on the Government of Nepal to
• Establish an independent and effective disappearances commission to find out what happened to more than 1000 victims of enforced disappeared, to identify those responsible and to provide reparations to the victims (if they are found to be alive) and their families.
• Establish an independent and effective truth commission to document the truth and identify those responsible for wide range of other human rights violations, including killings, torture, rape and recommend measures to ensure full reparations for the victims. In particular, Amnesty International will campaign against the current provision for amnesties in the truth commission bill that is expected to be submitted to parliament shortly. Instead, information about any crimes must be submitted to the prosecuting authorities for action.
• Legislative and other reforms of the justice system to ensure that all crimes can be investigated and prosecuted effectively by national courts in fair trials and victims can claim reparations before national courts, without obstacle.
• Justice, truth and reparations in three high profile cases, including the torture and killing of 15-year-old Maina Sunuwar by armed forces in 2004.
• To demonstrate its commitment to ensure that these crimes will never again happen in Nepal by ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.