KATMANDU, Feb 28: Stakeholders have suggested the government to upgrade several anti-torture legislations and make them further compatible with the international standard. They also stressed on the need to develop various mechanisms within the law enforcing agencies to end the growing culture of torture in the country.
Speaking at a two-day symposium entitled Enhancing Good Governance, Human Rights Protection and Law Enforcement Situation in Security Agencies and Criminal Justice Actors in Nepal, they stressed on the reforms in criminal justice system in line with the international human rights norms, principles and obligations.
Participants from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and the semi-judicial authorities from the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation agreed that they can address the issue of torture on their own initiatives and efforts.
According to them, enhancement of pro-human rights policing is a strategy to address torture. Effective monitoring mechanisms and adequate 'functional coordination of criminal justice actors' can help reduce and prevent torture.
Associate Professor Pradeep Pathak, director of the project, said that Kathmandu School of Law (KSL) will submit the compilation of recommendations and actions to the chief of the respective police organizations and line ministries.
A situation analysis and baseline study prepared by the KSL and Danish Institute for Human Rights has also suggested the government to make the proposed Bill on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, Criminal Procedural Code and the Crime Code and Sentencing Bill on par with the international standards.
Experts say that the bills, which are currently on hold in the parliament, do not meet the international standards.
The research entitled Situation Analysis and Baseline Study on Torture and Improper Use of Force in Nepal has stressed on the need of establishing human rights units in all departments of the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation and examine current regulations concerning justice dispensation process by the department under the ministry.
The report was prepared by reviewing laws related to Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and the ministry and their organizational structures in various parts of the country.
The report prepared by former Attorney General Yubaraj Sangraula has also pointed out the need of transforming policing system into a service delivery system.
"The number of police officers must be increased in line with the proposal forwarded by the report of the High Level taskforce for the Restructuring of Security Agencies in 2009," suggests the report, adding, "A well-equipped criminology study center must be established."
The research team studied the laws and justice delivery system related to Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Ministry of Forest following complaints that these institutions were found involved in torture while dealing with cases.
Officials from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, the Ministry of Forests and other law enforcing agencies including the Supreme Court of Nepal, Danish National Police, Danish Institute for Human Rights, civil societies and academics were present at the function.