The Human Rights Committee has so far issued Views on 11 individual cases of gross human rights violations in Nepal. However, the pursuit of justice for victims of these violations does not end with the decision. In line with its international obligations, it is the responsibility of the government of Nepal to take these recommendations seriously and to ensure the implementation of the Views.
Despite the first decision being issued in 2008, the government has largely turned a blind eye to the recommendations provided by the Human Rights Committee.
The partner organisations have so far made several efforts to push for the implementation of the Views of the Human Rights Committee. These include:
Submission of letters to government authorities: In a bid to remind the government authorities of its obligations to implement the Views of the Human Rights Committee, Advocacy Forum, REDRESS and TRIAL have provided assistance to the victims and their families in submitting letters to the respective institutions. In most cases, several rounds of letters have been submitted to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Law Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office, National Human Rights Commission, and Office of the Attorney General.
Meetings with government officials: In a number of cases, the organisations have held meetings with government officials to discuss the implementation of the Views and have received assurances of action that have not been realised. In some of these meetings victims have been present to raise their case directly with government officials.
Social media awareness: In an effort to raise the level of public awareness on cases of human rights violations, the organisations remain active in social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, sharing stories of the victims and bringing to light their hardships.
This has included the production of videos so that victims can tell their stories. TRIAL has been involved in the production of two short videos on the cases of Ram Bhandari and Chakra Bahadur Katwal, both of whom are victims of enforced disappearance. These videos tell the story of their family’s quest for justice leading up to – and including – the decisions of the Human Rights Committee. Dev Bahadur Maharjan has also recounted his fight for justice as part of video produced by Advocacy Forum and REDRESS. The videos are shared on YouTube and other social media platforms for wider public attention and awareness.
Briefings to the Human Rights Committee
The organisations have continued to update the Human Rights Committee on the lack of progress on implementation, both through written submissions and oral briefings. In 2014 Advocacy Forum and REDRESS provided a detailed briefing to the Committee on the status of implementation of cases concerning Nepal for its periodic review in Geneva, resulting in specific recommendations on the issue. Most recently, on 3 November 2015, TRIAL organised an informal briefing with members of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva to discuss the challenges faced in implementing the Views of the Committee in Nepal. The briefing included presentations by TRIAL and REDRESS, as well as the perspectives of Nepali lawyers and advocates working on issues of implementation. The briefing was widely attended by the Committee members.
Media activities: As decisions have been handed down, the various organisations have issued press releases and held press conferences with victims to inform the media about the cases and the Human Rights Committee’s decisions. Further press releases have been issued to highlight Nepal’s failure to implement the decisions. These stories have been covered by national daily newspapers, regional radio stations and on television news.