Madame High Commissioner,
On the eve of the departure of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights from Nepal, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Human Rights Watch express their concern that the human rights situation in the country remains precarious and accountability for wartime abuses is being put further and further out of reach.
Bills creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission on Disappearances, as agreed upon by the parties to Nepal’s 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, have stalled in Parliament. Calls by senior political figures in favor of a blanket amnesty have intensified in spite of the Government’s commitments on accountability made under the UPR process. Individuals suspected of involvement in human rights abuses have been appointed or promoted to official positions. The criminal justice system is hindered by political interference and has proven ineffective in combating impunity. The Government continues to obstruct peaceful gatherings by Tibetans and Nepalis of Tibetan origin, including detaining demonstrators in violation of orders from Nepal’s Supreme Court.
These trends are of particular concern in view of the Government’s refusal to extend the mandate of your office in Nepal and the adoption of a new National Human Rights Commission Bill that does not conform to the Paris Principles. The ICJ and Human Rights Watch therefore urge your office to make a strong and unambiguous statement that a general amnesty for serious human rights abuses will have dire consequences for Nepal’s standing in the international community, and that freedom of assembly and expression should be fully protected. We also call on your office to make active and public use of its remaining time in Nepal, including by releasing its completed conflict mapping report and emblematic case reports prior to its departure in June 2012.
I thank you.