Eight young people aged 14 to 23 disappeared from one village in 2002
Dhaniram Tharu, Soniram Tharu, Radhulal Tharu, Prem Prakash Tharu, Kamala Tharu, Mohan Tharu, Lauti Tharu and Chillu Tharu– two girls and six boys aged between 14 and 23 at the time of their disappearance – were taken by soldiers from their homes in Nauranga Village, at around midnight on 11 April 2002. They were all members of the Tharu indigenous community. Their families have never seen them again or received any credible information from the authorities about what happened to them.
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SEARCH FOR JUSTICE
The families of the disappeared filed cases in the Supreme Court in 2003 seeking release of the young people. All state authorities denied detaining them, and the Supreme Court closed the cases. In 2006, the army informed the Neupane Committee (created by the Government of Nepal to investigate the fate of allegedly disappeared persons) that seven of the young people were killed in crossfire during an encounter with Maoists. The families have refuted the army’s allegations, because the victims left their houses unarmed and guarded by armed soldiers.
In January 2011, families of the victims filed a case with the Human Rights Committee, represented by non-governmental organisations Advocacy Forum and REDRESS. The Human Rights Committee decided the case in July 2015.
It found the eight young people were victims of enforced disappearance, resulting in violations of their rights to life, to be free from torture, to liberty and to personality before the law. It found further that the anguish and stress caused to the families of the victims amounted to a serious violation of their human rights.
The Human Rights Committee recommended that Nepal carry out an effective and complete investigation into the disappearances, provide detailed information to the families, and prosecute and punish those responsible. It also recommended that Nepal provide necessary and adequate rehabilitation and treatment to the families, and effective reparation, including adequate compensation and appropriate measures of satisfaction, to the families. In addition it must take steps to prevent similar violations in the future, including by introducing legislation to allow for criminal prosecution of torture, extrajudicial executions, and enforced disappearances. It must also translate the Human Rights Committee’s decision and distribute it widely.
|Investigation of the facts and information to the family||E|
|No criminal investigation has been carried out. Instead the Government’s policy is that that these cases will be considered by the non-judicial transitional justice mechanisms.|
|Prosecution and punishment of perpetrators||C1|
|No person has been prosecuted in relation to the crime.|
|Prior to the decision the families had each received a small amount of money as “interim relief” paid to all victims of disappearance from the conflict. The Human Rights Committee held that this amount was not commensurate with the serious violations inflicted. No further reparation has been provided, although the Government has committed to providing a further small amount of interim relief.|
|No rehabilitation services or medical treatment have been provided.|
|Measures of satisfaction||C1|
|No apology or memorial has been provided.|
|Prevention of similar violations||C1|
|Provisions allowing for immunity of officials have not been removed from Nepali law.|
|Amendment of legislation||C1|
|Legislation has not been introduced to criminalise torture and enforced disappearance. Provisions still remain in place to allow impunity for extrajudicial executions by state officials.|
|Translation & dissemination||C1|
|The Government has committed to translating and distributing the decision, but this has not yet happened.|
* Note these are unofficial gradings as the Human Rights Committee has not yet commented on implementation
EFFORTS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
As a first step, on 19 April 2016 the authors in the case filed for the additional interim relief promised by the government. The victims’ legal representatives will work with the Government to push for further implementation.