Nepal: New report shows alarming upsurge in 'disappearance' cases

Amnesty International has to date recorded over 250 cases of 'disappearance' since members and supporters of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist) declared a 'people's war' in February 1996. In the last seven weeks since the collapse of the cease-fire in August 2003, Amnesty International has recorded 20 more cases of 'disappearance' and more are received daily - with reports running at a current rate of four per week.

In addition to reports of more than 250 'disappearances', hundreds of alleged extrajudicial executions, thousands of arbitrary arrests and numerous reports of torture, have taken place in the context of the 'people's war.' Weak institutions, corruption, a lack of accountability and lack of effective reform of the police and judiciary have helped perpetuate a climate of impunity.

Amnesty International said: 'We call upon the government to investigate and clarify the fate or whereabouts of the 'disappeared', pay compensation to the relatives and bring perpetrators to justice.

'We have repeatedly called for human rights safeguards to be adopted, in particular for a Human Rights Accord to be signed by both the government and the Maoists, which would give the National Human Rights Commission a mandate to set up five regional offices to monitor human rights with technical assistance provided by the United Nations.'

The CPN (Maoist) has been responsible for scores of abductions and other human rights abuses. Amnesty International has called upon its leadership to abide by the principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the provisions of Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949.

Cases of 'disappearance' in the report include:

  • Rajendra Dhakal, aged 31, a lawyer, arrested by police on 8 January 1999 from Jamdi, Khairenitar, in Tanahun district, Western Region. Taken to the Bel Chautara area police office, a distance of about ten kilometres. His whereabouts remains unknown. He was last seen by two others also arrested (but later released) at the Bel Chautara police office.
  • Prem Bahadur Rawal, a secondary school teacher from Baligun Village Development Committee, Ward 9, Achham district, was allegedly abducted by members of the CPN (Maoist) on 17 September 2003. His whereabouts remain unknown.

Amnesty International also urged the Nepalese government to invite the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture to visit the country as a matter of urgency to advise the government on how to immediately end the pattern of human rights abuses, including 'disappearances.'

The report, Nepal: Widespread 'disappearances' in the context of armed conflict, is at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa310452003

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