Monday, April 2, 2007

NHRC report urges govt to implement rule of law

NHRC report urges govt to implement rule of law

By Sudha Regmi and Anshu Karki

KATHMANDU, April 2 - National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Monday stated that the Maoist camps contained quite a significant number of children below the age of 18.

In a report made public regarding the human rights situation in the country from Oct 31, 2006 to 25 February, 2007, it was stated that children were recruited through the enticement of large salaries and on many occasions, were coerced to join the Maoist against their will.

The report stated that despite the peace pact, the Maoists had come out of their cantonments in Siraha, Saptari, Udaypur, Ilam and Nepalgunj. Moreover, even the Maoist MPs have been found to enter the Parliament with arms. Because of this and many more irresponsible acts in a direct violation of the peace treaty, the general people still feel terrorized by the Maoists.

The report further said that the Maoist army camps lacked basic necessities like drinking water, electricity and medical facilities. Similarly, the health of pregnant women in the camps was weak and they were not provided proper medical facilities.

Although they had agreed to return the government, public and private property seized during the People’s War, the Maoist still retain hold of a majority of this property.

Meanwhile, the Maoists had seized a private house in Harnamadi, Makwanpur and converted it into a jail where 19 people were imprisoned.

Because of the Maoist atrocities, 350 people from 49 families have been forced to flee the country and go to India, the report said.

Likewise, according to the report, the government also holds its fair share of blame. There have been reports of atrocities against journalists by army men.

During the violent Terai agitation, both Maoists and the government had violated human rights time and again.

Where Maoists had thrashed and shot general people, the security personnel had also fired shots to disperse the crowd.

The MPRF agitators had also attacked 18 journalists, claiming that they had failed to publish news as per their demands.

The report also said that the agitators also had attacked injured people undergoing treatment at a hospital in Sarlahi. Although the movement was supposed to be unarmed, the protesters took to streets carrying baton, rods, knives and various other household weapons.

Even after the peace accord, the Maoists have not totally given up activities like abducting schoolchildren and forcing them to participate in party programmes.

Looking at the positive side, the report mentioned that there has been a significant decrease in activities like bombing educational institutions, armed attacks, killings and overall violence.

Similarly, the promulgation of the Interim Constitution gives hope that equality — whether it be gender related or caste related — might be brought into the country, the report stated.

The report states that although the tenure of commission officials had ended, the government has not appointed any new officials to replace them, creating problems in the decision making process.

The report concludes that the government needs to be more proactive rather than reactive and take initiative to implement the rule of law in the nation.

The report, however, did not include the Gaur incident.

The acting Secretary of NHRC Dhruba Nepal said that although the investigation of the Gaur incident had already been completed, a separate report on the incident would be provided later.

NHRC records 640 cases of human rights abuses in four months

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recorded 640 cases of human rights violations including murder, abduction and disappearance within a period of four months - from October 31, 2006 to February 5 this year.

A NHRC report publicised today says that out of the total 640 recorded cases, 123 people were killed – 86 by the security forces, 30 by the Maoists and 7 people by others including the two factions of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Murcha (JTMM). Most of the murder cases occurred in Terai districts like Bara, Sarlahi, Morang, Sunsari and Dhanusha.

Similarly, 65 people were abducted by the Maoists during the four months period while the security forces were responsible for disappearance of 65 people. 20 people were abducted, or involuntarily disappeared, by other groups.

According to the NHRC report, 66 people underwent torture - 32 by security persons, 27 by Maoists and six by others. Likewise, 57 people were displaced due to Maoist threats. The Maoists seized properties of 41 people during this period.

Other cases of human rights violation include threats, mistreatment and exploitation of children and others.

Speaking at the programme organised to publicise the report, NHRC secretary Dhruba Nepal said human rights violations continued despite the signing of comprehensive peace accord.

Nepal said both the government and the Maoists must work seriously to end the culture of impunity. He also demanded that the government appoint senior officials at the NHRC as early as possible. mk Apr 02 07

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