Responding to the landmark verdict on 5 December on the killing of Nabaraj BK and five others by the West Rukum District Court in Nepal, convicting 26 individuals for murder and caste-based discrimination, Nirajan Thapaliya, Director of Amnesty International Nepal, said:
“The District Court verdict is a welcome step in judicial redress to ensure justice and accountability is served to the families of the Dalit victims. This is a huge relief for the families and human rights activists who have tirelessly campaigned for justice. Such concrete action is critical to halt and prevent further human rights violations on the ground.
“The horrific nature of the crime highlights the extent of discrimination and violence that Dalits continue to face in Nepal. The authorities must urgently take comprehensive efforts to prevent, effectively investigate and, when evidence warrants so, prosecute suspects of such crimes, respecting international fair trial standards.
The District Court verdict is a welcome step in judicial redress to ensure justice and accountability is served to the families of the Dalit victims.Nirajan Thapaliya, Director of Amnesty International Nepal
“Nepal has obligations under international law, to take effective measures to prevent and address all forms of caste-based violence and discrimination. The government of Nepal must continue to take immediate action to protect right to life and dignity of the Dalits and end impunity for caste-based crimes.”
In May 2020, Nabaraj BK and a group of 18 young men, many of them belonging to the Dalit community, were attacked by a village mob from a dominant caste on allegations of Nabaraj’s inter-caste relationship with a girl from dominant caste. The mob chased the young men to the edge of the Bheri river beating and killing them, where the bodies of six men were discovered over the following two weeks.
On 5 December 2023, West Rukum District Court convicted 26 individuals with 24 of them sentenced to life imprisonment on murder charges. Two other individuals were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for caste-based discrimination.
Despite the prohibition of caste-based discrimination in the constitution of Nepal and other laws such as the Caste-Based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment) (CBDU) Act, 2011, the Dalits across the country continue to face multiple layers of discrimination and violence. The implementation of the laws remains ineffective, as crimes against Dalits are often not promptly registered or effectively investigated by the police officials as per the legal provisions.