Human Rights: Comprehensive Peace Agreement
5.2.12. Both sides agree to allow unrestricted lawful movement throughout the State of Nepal to the personnel of the United Nations, International Donor Community, Diplomatic Missions based in Nepal, National and International Non-Governmental Organizations, Press Community, Human Rights Activists, Election Observers and foreign tourists.
7.1. Human Rights:
7.1.1. Both sides reiterate their commitment to the respect and protection of human rights and the international humanitarian laws and agree that no individual shall be discriminated on the basis of colour, gender, language, religion, age, race, nationality or social origin, property, disability, birth and other status and thought or belief.
7.1.2. Both sides agree to create an atmosphere where the Nepali people can enjoy their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and are committed to ensuring that such rights are not violated under any circumstances in the future.
7.1.3. Both sides express their commitment that impartial investigation shall be carried out and lawful action would be taken against individuals responsible for obstructions in the exercise of the rights contained in the agreement and guarantee not to encourage impunity. Apart from this, they shall also guarantee the right to relief of the families of victims of conflict, torture and disappearance.
7.1.4. Both sides shall refrain from inflicting torture, kidnapping and coercing the ordinary people to any work, and shall take necessary actions to discourage such acts.
7.1.5. Both sides shall respect the social, cultural and religious sensitivities, and the protection of religious sites and beliefs of any individual based on the values and norms of secularism,
7.3.1. Both sides respect and protect the right to individual dignity. In this connection, no person including those deprived of the enjoyment of freedom under law shall be subjected to torture or any other cruel, inhuman or degrading behaviour or punishment. The citizen's lawful right to privacy shall be respected.
7.3.2. Both sides shall fully respect the individual's right to freedom and security, shall not keep anyone under arbitrary or illegal detention, and shall not kidnap or hold anybody captive in a like manner. Both sides agree to make public the status of every individual disappeared and held captive and provide such information to their family members, legal counsel, and any other authorized persons.
7.3.3. Both sides shall respect and protect the citizens' right to freedom of movement and the right to choose the location of one's residence in a manner acceptable under prevailing laws, and express their commitments to respect the right of individuals and families displaced during the conflict to return to their original places of residence or to settle in any other places of their choice.
7.7.1. Both sides agree to enforce and cause to be enforced the freedom of thought and opinion, freedom of expression and publication, freedom of peaceful assembly without arms, freedom of movement, freedom of choice of profession or occupation, freedom of acquisition, ownership and disposal of property, freedom to participate in peaceful political activities, the right to equality before law and a just legal system.
9.4. The National Human Rights Commission shall also carry out responsibilities related to the monitoring of human rights as mentioned in this agreement together with the responsibility assigned to it as per the laws. While carrying out its functions, the Commission may liaison with and seek assistance from national as well as international human rights related organizations.
From September 2006 to December 2006, the INSEC reported that the human rights situation had improved. Nevertheless, the INSEC documented that both the state and the Maoists had killed at least one person each in December 2006.1
- 1. "Human Rights Yearbook 2007," Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), 2007.
The human rights situation deteriorated in 2007. According to the INSEC report, violent armed groups emerged in the Tarai region and non-state actors were actively engaged in human rights violations. In 2007, the non-state actors killed 514 people. This figure includes 15 who had been killed by the Maoists. During the same period, the state killed 37 people.2 The INSEC also reported that Maoists were involved in activities like abduction and extortion.
- 2. Ibid; "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2007/612), October 18, 2007.
In 2008, 541 people were killed. This figure includes 50 people killed by the state and eight people killed by the Maoists and affiliated organizations. Similarly 729 people were abducted. This figure includes 138 people kidnapped by the Maoists and 162 people kidnapped by its sister organization, the Young Communist League. With regards to electoral-related violence, it was reported that the Maoists killed 12 people, injured another 383, beat 813, threatened 142 and abducted 304. Other political parties were also involved in similar activities. Yet the Maoists’ violations of human rights surpassed those of all parties.3 Incidents of violations of human rights by other non-state actors were very high during the year.
- 3. "Human Rights Yearbook 2009," Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), 2009; "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2009/313), May 12, 2008.
The INSEC reported 1420 counts of human rights violations by the state and 5,137 counts of violations by non-state actors. In 2009, the state killed 41 people. The Maoists, and their affiliated organization, killed three. A total of 473 people were killed during this year. The Maoists and affiliated organizations were also involved in the capturing of property. During the same period, the Maoists and their affiliated organizations beat at least 491 people. The state beat 243 people.4 Incidents of violations of human rights by other non-state actors were very high during the year.
- 4. "Human Rights Yearbook 2009," Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), 2010.
In 2010, a total of 459 people were killed. Of this figure, 32 people were killed by the state, and 5 people were killed by the Maoists. The Maoists also abducted 55 people and issued 123 threats compared with the state, which threatened 5 people. During the same period, the number of beatings enacted by the state was 122. The Maoists enacted 370 beatings.5 Incidents of violations of human rights by other non-state actors were very high during the year.
- 5. "Human Rights Yearbook 2010," Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), 2011.
The situation did not improve in 2011. According to INSEC, 19 people were killed in the first three months of 2011. This included one person being killed by the state. Non-state armed groups, (not including the Maoists), were responsible for the rest of the killings. Similarly, there were reports of 17 abductions. This figure includes 6 persons abducted by the Maoists.6 Between July and September 2011, 25 individuals were killed in 19 different districts. Among those, three were killed by the state, two by Akhil Tarai Jantantrik Mukti Morcha and 19 people were killed by unidentified persons.7
Human rights situation did not improve in 2012. In its report, Amnesty International suggested Nepal heading toward “full-spectrum impunity” because the government reneged on its commitment to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable before the law.8 As a matter of fact, Nepal was criticized by the International Commission of Jurists and Human Rights Watch as political parties were preparing for general amnesty for all conflict-era crimes through the proposed transitional justice commissions.9 The human rights violation trend for 2012, however, is not available from the local human rights organizations.
The human rights situation did not improve in 2013. For lack of political commitment to prosecute those responsible for conflict era human rights abuses, a culture of impunity prevails. On allegations of human rights abuses against Nepali people, especially for torturing two civilians in an army barrack in 2005, Colonel Kurma Lama from the Nepal Army was arrested in in Great Britain in January 2013.10 The Nepal government had asked for the immediate release of the colonel (“Nepal's Colonel Kumar Lama held after court appearance,” BBC News, January 5 , 2013). The government hired internationally recognized Kingslay Napley law firm to defend Col. Lama.11 The country’s top human rights monitoring mechanism, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), had no commissioners since 16 September as the government allowed the terms of all commissioners to expire and did not appoint new commissioners.12 The NHRC had called for the prosecution of those responsible for conflict era human rights violations.
The human rights situation did not improve in 2014. After the arrest of Col. Lama in Great Britain, the Maoist party and the government had felt pressure to establish the truth and reconciliation commission to deal with the conflict era human rights violation cases. Both sides were in agreement to give immunity to those who were involved in serious human rights violation during the conflict. Accordingly, after an agreement with all parties, the government on 10 April tabled two bills in the legislature parliament on the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance.13 Because the TRC law could permit amnesty for serious crimes, rights groups and victims groups opposed the bills.14 Notwithstanding these oppositions, the parliament passed the TRC bills on 26 April 2014. The bill was criticized by victims groups and national and international human rights organizations. The formation of the TRC and CIED commission however faced setbacks as the law required that the National Human Rights Commission chairperson or his designated member be a committee member. After almost a year, the government appointed former Chief Justice Anup Raj Sharma as the Chairman of the NHRC. Other members of the commission were former Supreme Court justice Prakash Osti, Senior Advocate Govinda Sharma Pudel, rights activist Sudip Pathak and former member of National Women’s Commission Mohona Ansari.15
Prosecuting those involved in human rights violations and whether they should be granted amnesty or not remain sensitive issues. On 27 February 2015, the Supreme Court annulled the amnesty provisions in the TRC bill in a response to the appeal filed by over 200 conflict victims.16 The decision was hailed as a victory for the victims but the Maoist and splinter groups called for the nullification of the Supreme Court verdict. The court also had limited the mandate of the TRC and CIED commission so that they could not recommend amnesty.17