KATHMANDU, Feb 7: Civil society members have urged the government to protect complaints and testimonies collected from victims and families of those who were killed or disappeared during the Maoist insurgency.
Issuing a joint statement Wednesday, hours before the parliament debated a new bill to extend the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission for Enforced Disappeared Persons for the third time, civil society members called on the stakeholders concerned to hand over complaints, evidences and documents gathered from victims of atrocities to the National Human Rights Commission so as to ensure the privacy of victims and their families.
The appeal by civil society leaders come amid reports that the commissions are making preparations to hand over sensitive documents including testimonies of victims to the government. The human rights groups and civil society members have taken a strong exception to the plan saying it could infringe on privacy of the victims. In their complaints, several hundred victims have identified their perpetrators.
So far, the CIEDP has conducted detailed investigations into 2,100 cases, while TRC has gone through 3,000 of the 61,000 registered complaints.
Civil society members have also urged the government to draft laws so as to ensure punishment for heinous crimes including genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity. The government’s deliberate delays in drafting necessary laws have stoked fears that it might be planning to give amnesty to people convicted for these grave crimes.
“From the beginning, the victims, human rights groups and civil service society have stood against laws which give amnesty to those involved in war crimes, crime against humanity, rape and sexual violence among other heinous crimes, but the government has been ignoring our repeated calls to draft laws based on meaningful consultation with stakeholders concerned,” a group of 34 civil society members said in a statement.
Their statement came hours before TRC Chair Surya Kiran Gurung and Leela Udasi, a TRC member, resigned from their positions citing lack of cooperation from the government.
Stating that the government’s apathy was causing delays in the work of truth and reconciliation, the civil society members urged the government to draft legislation adhering to the verdict of the Supreme Court, international laws, international treaties and conventions ratified by Nepal government and universally accepted standard on truth and reconciliation.