World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Nepal: Investigate Kathmandu 'Killing Field'

Nepal: Investigate Kathmandu 'Killing Field'

The Nepal government's failure to protect the site of alleged army killings at Shivapuri National Park near Kathmandu signals an unwillingness to investigate past atrocities, Human Rights Watch said today.

"This site may reveal horrific killings linked to the Nepali army, and the government has got to move more quickly to investigate," said Charu Lata Hogg, South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. "The government has recently made some fine-sounding pronouncements on human rights, but when it comes to actual cases it's doing precious little to investigate effectively."

On December 20, 2007, a team from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), found partially buried clothing, half-burnt logs, and other objects on a forested slope in the army-protected Shivapuri National Park, 10 miles north of Kathmandu. The site, which is located close to army barracks inside the park, was discovered following a tip-off from an army source who claimed to have witnessed the cremation of several people who had been "disappeared" in 2003. NHRC member Gauri Pradhan told Human Rights Watch: "Family members of those who disappeared along with a group of human rights activists requested NHRC to visit the site. The information appears credible."

Between September and December 2003, the Nepal Army's Bhairabnath and Yuddha Bhairab battalions arrested and detained hundreds of individuals in Maharajgunj. Their detentions were never formally acknowledged, and at least 49 people were "disappeared" by the Bhairabnath battalion in 2003, according to an OHCHR report in May 2006. The OHCHR alleged that members of the Bhairabnath battalion killed possibly scores of detainees in custody, and evidence points to this site being used for extrajudicial killings and cremations.

Following the discovery of the Shivapuri site and after repeated requests by human rights activists, the Nepal police deployed nine police officers to guard the site. Investigations, however, have been slow. Forensic experts have not yet collected all evidence from the site and government laxity in allowing people to freely roam the site could have resulted in tampering with evidence of a serious crime.

Human Rights Watch urged the government to investigate the Shivapuri site in accordance with international standards, such as the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions. Concerned governments should offer support to the Nepal government as required, including with forensic expertise, witness and victim protection, and in the handling and transfer of evidence for prosecution.

Human Rights Watch called upon the Nepal government to take effective action to resolve the thousands of enforced disappearances that occurred during the civil war and to prosecute those responsible. On December 23, the ruling seven-party alliance signed a 23-point agreement including some important commitments relating to human rights, such as the establishment of a commission to promptly investigate new "disappearances."

"While there are commitments to human rights on paper, it is high time the government takes concerted action to implement these commitments," said Hogg. "Perpetrators for crimes like 'disappearances' must be brought to justice."

Human Rights Watch also called upon the Nepal government to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances without delay. In line with that convention, the government should ensure an inclusive and consultative process while drafting a law on enforced disappearances, make "disappearances" a crime in line with the convention's definition, and set up an investigative body with a mandate and composition in line with international standards. There should be no blanket amnesties for serious human rights violations.


Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>