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Activists hold an event in memory of people who were disappeared during Nepal’s decade-long civil war, Kathmandu, August 30, 2017. © 2017 Reuters

(Geneva) – Nepal has failed to live up to its commitments on transitional justice, or to carry out the recommendations from the last United Nations review of its human rights record, Human Rights Watch said in a submission to the UN Human Rights Council for Nepal’s forthcoming review. Nepal has also not met pledges it subsequently made when seeking election to the Human Rights Council in 2017.

Under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) system, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva reviews each country’s human rights record every five years. During the previous cycle Nepal accepted numerous recommendations, including to address sexual and gender-based violence, to amend constitutional provisions that discriminate against women, to meaningfully address caste and ethnic discrimination, and to protect freedom of expression. However, the government has done none of these things, while impunity for abuses committed during and after the 1996-2006 conflict prevails.

“Whether it is international pledges or the 2015 constitution, Nepal has made big promises, but the policies that followed do not indicate a commitment to ensuring justice for conflict-era abuses or to protecting human rights going forward,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director. “During the review, member states should remind the Nepal government that it needs to do much better in upholding the civil, political, economic, and social rights of the Nepali people.”

Under the current government of prime minister K.P. Oli, several pieces of legislation have been put before parliament that would weaken freedom of expression if passed into law. The government has also proposed legislation that would weaken the National Human Rights Commission, while pursuing policies that seek to constrain nongovernmental organizations and human rights defenders.

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