Amnesty International has said political parties resisted amending the transitional justice laws as ordered by the Supreme Court, in what was widely perceived as a prioritisation of reconciliation and monetary compensation over truth, justice and other reparations, including guarantees of non-repetition.
In a report titled ‘Amnesty International Report 2017/18: The State of The World’s Human Rights’, the AI said no effective investigation had taken place into the hundreds of killings of demonstrators by security forces since 1990 in various parts of the country, including the Tarai.
“Effective investigations did not take place. An acute shortage of resources and capacity adversely affected the ability of the two bodies to deliver truth, justice and reparation,” read the report. The report also stated that hundreds of thousands of survivors from the 2015 earthquake (nearly 70 per cent of those affected) were still living in temporary shelters. Especially, marginalised and disadvantaged groups, including women, Dalits and other caste-based and ethnic minorities, have been affected.
According to the report, 1.7 million people affected by the Tarai floods were given inadequate assistance by the government, which blocked attempts to distribute aid privately. “Many continued to live in inadequate housing and poor conditions,” read the report.
It also said that security forces continued to use unnecessary or excessive force in response to protests in the Tarai, particularly over grievances relating to the constitution.
The report underscored that the government failed to deliver effective protection for migrant workers and end the culture of impunity for unlawful and criminal recruitment practices. “Some recruiters were directly involved in labour trafficking, which is punishable under Nepal’s Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act,” read the report. “No improvements were made in the implementation of the government’s ‘Free visa, free ticket’ policy, which was intended to curtail recruitment charges by agencies.”
Although the government made repeated public commitments to reduce migration costs for workers and to protect them from incurring debt, it increased the burden on migrants by raising pre-departure costs, according to the report. Recruitment businesses continued to use their political influence to prevent investigation, prosecution and redress for their routine abuse and exploitation of migrants.
The report said criminal investigation system in Nepal remained ‘archaic and draconian’. Torture and other ill-treatment were widespread in pre-trial detention to extract ‘confessions’. The new Criminal Code passed by the Parliament in August contained provisions criminalising torture and other ill-treatment, with a maximum of five years’ imprisonment. A separate anti-torture bill, which remained pending in the Parliament, fell far short of international legal requirements, it said.
“Discrimination persisted on the bases of gender, caste, class, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. Constitutional amendments did not fully guarantee equal rights to citizenship for women, nor provided protection from discrimination to marginalised communities, including Dalits and other caste-based and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.”
“The provisions for punishment and the statutory limitations relating to rape in the new Criminal Code are still far short of international law and standards.”