Hundreds still missing in Nepal after the end of its civil war in 2006
Almost five years after the end of the decade-long insurgency in Nepal in which almost 14,000 people were killed, the status of more than 13, 000 other people who went missing during that period is still unknown.
Relatives of the missing have been pressing the authorites for answers and action. The response, or the lack thereof, has exacerbated their frustration.
In June 2007, Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government to enact a new law to criminalize enforced disappearance and to establish an independent high level Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances. But the order has not been followed.
Although some missing citizens resurfaced in 2006 after the end of the decade-long insurgency, the fate of those who did not has worsened the anxiety of relatives.
INSEC, a local human rights organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross Nepal (ICRC-N) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have presented conflicting reports on estimates of how many of the missing were taken by Maoists and how many disappeared at the hands of security agencies.
In 2006, the then conflicting parties — the Maoists and the government — signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), abolishing the decade-long civil war and agreeing to prepare a list of those who disappeared or were killed during the civil war, make it public and inform families within 60 days of signing of the accord.
The European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States have called on the Nepal government to meet the commitments it made before the UN Human Rights Council by ensuring the full application of the rule of law to state and non-state personnel involved in disappearances.
“We hope that an independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances can be established as soon as possible. We encourage parliamentarians to prioritise amendment of the draft legislation so that it meets Supreme Court rulings and international standards. This will bring hope to the thousands who are still awaiting justice,” according to a joint statement.