The Geneva Council strongly condemns the recent decision by the Government of Nepal to reject amendments to a crucial civil war reparation bill, despite serious concerns raised by United Nations special rapporteurs.
The proposed Truth and Reconciliation (Amendment) Act, aimed at investigating rights violations during Nepal’s decade-long civil war, has drawn significant international attention due to its potential impact on justice and accountability. However, the Nepal government’s refusal to address the concerns highlighted by UN special rapporteurs demonstrates a concerning disregard for international human rights principles.
Aruna Joshi, Chief of the Human Rights and International Treaty Agreement division at the Nepal Prime Minister’s office, justified the government’s stance by claiming that the bill now rests within the jurisdiction of the federal Parliament. This, however, raises questions about the separation of powers and the need for transparent and accountable governance.
In a 13-page letter dated June 9, three UN special rapporteurs expressed “serious concerns” regarding the inconsistencies between the bill and Nepal’s international obligations. These rapporteurs, including Fabian Salvioli for truth, justice, reparation, and non-recurrence; Morris Tidball-Binz for extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions; and Reem Alsalem for violence against women and girls, its origins, and consequences, jointly highlighted key issues that must be addressed.
The Geneva Council emphasizes that Nepal’s commitment to justice and human rights is of paramount importance, particularly when dealing with the aftermath of a conflict that resulted in approximately 17,800 fatalities. It is imperative for the government to actively engage with international concerns and ensure that the proposed legislation aligns with global standards of accountability.
The Nepal government’s decision to maintain the bill without addressing the raised concerns sends a troubling message to the international community, potentially hindering efforts to achieve lasting reconciliation and justice for victims of the civil war.
The Geneva Council urges the Nepal government to reconsider its stance and engage constructively with the United Nations and other stakeholders to ensure that the Truth and Reconciliation (Amendment) Act aligns with Nepal’s international human rights commitments. The pursuit of justice and accountability is an essential component of a stable and harmonious society, and it is crucial that Nepal upholds its obligations in this regard.