Real Rights Now is a campaign to highlight the need for justice in cases of human rights violations in Nepal. Many brave Nepalis have been fighting for justice for horrific crimes committed against them and their loved ones. A number of these cases have been taken all the way up to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations and have been won. Despite winning, little to nothing has changed, and the victims of these violations are still pushing Nepal to abide by its international obligations. Real Rights Now is a campaign and platform for action to make their rights reality.
From 1996 to 2006, Nepal was gripped by conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels. Civilians were caught in the middle – with both sides committing grave human rights violations including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, and torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. Across this period, over 17,000 Nepali people lost their lives, and approximately 1,300 were disappeared; their fate and whereabouts still unknown. Many others were subjected to long periods of torture and imprisonment or displaced from their homes.
With peace came promises of justice for the victims of this conflict, but these promises remain unfulfilled. Many victims and their families have tried to seek justice in Nepal – by lodging complaints with police, through the courts, commissions of inquiry, and the National Human Rights Commission. Yet, to date, none of the crimes have had a proper criminal investigation and not one person has been prosecuted.
Cases at the Human Rights Committee
Nepal is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”). This document sets out key human rights that Nepal must respect, including the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to liberty, guarantees of humane treatment of those detained, the right to non-discrimination, and the right to an effective remedy.
Many of the crimes committed against Nepalis by both sides during the conflict amount to serious human rights violations. When Nepal does not provide an appropriate response to such crimes – as in the cases presented here – it has agreed that individuals can take their case directly to the UN Human Rights Committee. The Human Rights Committee is a group of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the ICCPR, and it can determine whether rights have been violated by States and what the State should do to make amends. Click here for more information about the Human Rights Committee and its procedures.
So far, the Human Rights Committee has issued 11 decisions relating to cases of gross human rights violations in cases brought by Advocacy Forum, REDRESS and TRIAL – in each of them finding that Nepal is responsible for extremely serious violations of the Covenant, ranging from enforced disappearance, to torture, to extrajudicial execution. Click here for more information about the cases.
In each case, the Human Rights Committee has told Nepal that international law requires it to provide the victims and their families with an effective remedy, including investigations into the facts, prosecutions of those responsible, compensation, rehabilitation, and other forms of reparation, including satisfaction for the victims, such as apologies or memorials. In a number of cases it has also recommended that specific pieces of legislation are amended or introduced. However, apart from the provision of very small amounts of money to some of the victims under a general “interim relief” policy, almost nothing has been done. Click here for more information about what measures the Human Rights Committee has recommended, and how these recommendations have been implemented.
Real Rights Now is calling for the Government of Nepal to fully implement the Views of the Human Rights Committee – by providing the recommended remedies and reparation – without any further delay.
The organisations involved
Real Rights Now is developed and maintained by a coalition of four non-governmental organisations working on cases brought before the Human Rights Committee, as well as on other issues of justice for human rights violations in Nepal. These organisations are Advocacy Forum-Nepal, Juri-Nepal, REDRESS, and TRIAL. For further information about each organisation see here.
The Real Rights Now campaign website is supported in part by funding from the European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Swiss Government, and MISEREOR.