Make commission report on Terai violence public: HRW tells Nepal

ANI | Updated: Dec 21, 2017 12:33 IST

New York [USA], Dec 21 (ANI): Human Rights Watch on Thursday asked the Nepal Government to make the report on Terai violence public.

A high-level enquiry commission was established in 2016 to investigate alleged excessive and indiscriminate use of force during the violent protests in 2015 that left at least 45 people dead, including nine police officers.

The commission submitted its report in this regard on December 14, this year.

The Human Rights Watch has expressed concern that the report would languish and no action would be taken on its recommendations, adding the formation of a new government after provincial and national elections increases the likelihood that the report would fall by the wayside.

"We have seen many valuable commission reports gather dust in Nepal, and watched as victim after victim suffered without justice or compensation," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

"As a new member of the UN Human Rights Council, Nepal needs to take this opportunity to show its commitment to addressing the human rights of all its citizens."

While the commission officially handed its report to the Nepal's Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, the government has not indicated next steps based on the report's findings and its recommendations.

"Prime Minister Deuba should publish the report, announce a plan to provide answers and redress for victims, and work with the incoming government to put that plan into effect. The victims of the violence and their families have a right to know what happened," Adams added.

The commission, after submitting its report, expressed frustration at the lack of government support throughout the process, including not having access to basic funds to buy pens and paper.

The commission also said that it received very little government cooperation during its field visits, despite its status as a national commission of inquiry with the mandate to direct cooperation from local agencies. The commission in its statement also signaled the need for security sector reform.

The 2015 violence flared over sharp disagreements over a new constitution that many indigenous and minority groups in Nepal's southern belt, known as the Terai, felt did not answer their longstanding calls for equal rights, provincial delineations, and devolution of power. The violence led to a virtual blockade of Nepal's southern border with India, which created serious shortages of basic goods in a landlocked country that relies on its southern border for trade.

Human Rights Watch and other organisations found credible evidence of serious human rights violations by the government security forces after they were deployed to contain the protests. The Rights Watch documented eyewitness accounts of police abuses in all the five districts it visited, including unlawful killings, including of children; beatings of protesters and people in their homes; and use of threats and racial insults against minority group members. (ANI)