An indigenous married woman subject to rape and sexually violated in 2002
Ms. Devi Maya Nepal (a pseudonym used) belonging to the indigenous Tharu community of Nepal was subjected to rape and other forms of ill-treated on 20 August 2002 by six uniformed soldiers when she was at home with her three-year-old daughter.
On the day of the incident, approximately 200 members of the Royal Nepalese Army and the Armed Police Force of Nepal raided Devi Maya’s village. Then, six uniformed soldiers entered Ms. Nepal’s house and stated they were searching for Maoist insurgents. They repeatedly asked whether Ms. Devi Maya Nepal was hiding or feeding the insurgents. After which, the soldiers touched Ms. Maya’s genitals, hit her with boots and the butts of their guns, tied her legs and hands, undressed her, shouted sexual insults at her, squeezed her breasts, and raped her.
In June 2003, Ms. Devi Maya Nepal gave birth to a girl. Both she and her husband are convinced that the pregnancy results from the rape.
Furthermore, Ms. Nepal suffers from severe physical and psychological pain from the rape and ill-treatment. In her community, she and her daughter are stigmatized as victims of rape and a “product of rape.” Moreover, her husband insults her by calling her “the wife of a soldier” and her younger daughter “the daughter of a soldier” and has asked herself and daughter repetitively to leave the house.
Read more: here
Ms. Devi Maya Nepal could not file a complaint for years following the attack due to the nature of rape, the patriarchal social structure of Nepal, stigmatization, fear of reprisals and retaliation, not being aware of the First-Information Report (FIR).
On 18 December 2014, Ms. Devi Maya Nepal filed a claim for compensation before Kanchanpur District Court. The Court refused to register the claim because it had not been filed within the 35-day statutory period and she did not even obtain compensation from the District Court.
On 19 December 2014, a lawyer on behalf of Ms. Devi Maya Nepal attempted to file FIR before Kanchanpur District Police Office. The District Police Office refused to register the report because it did not comply with the 35- day statutory period for reporting rape under section 11 of the Chapter on Rape of the Criminal Code of Nepal. On the same day, Ms. Devi Maya Nepal filed a complaint before Kanchanpur’s District Administration Office, which too was refused citing time-barred ground.
On 22 January 2015, Ms. Devi Maya Nepal submitted a writ of mandamus before the Supreme Court of Nepal, seeking relief and requesting the latter to order that the 35-day statute of limitations is not applied in her case. It was initially refused by the sub-registrar of the Supreme Court on the ground that the claim should have been filed before an appellate court to challenge the decision of the District Court.
On 29 January 2015, the writ was registered, and on the same date, the Court held an initial hearing. On 2 February 2015, the Court ordered the District Administration Office and Police of Kanchanpur to reply within 15 days, which has long since expired.
In March 2015, Ms. Devi Maya filed the case with the Human Rights Committee (HRC), represented by the non-governmental organization TRIAL International. The HRC decided the case in November 2021.
The HRC found that Ms. Maya was the victim of the violation of the right against cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment, unlawful attacks on honor or reputation, disruption of her family life and marriage, privacy, and torture and indicated various reparation measures.
Read the decision: English
The Committee recommended that Nepal conduct a thorough and effective investigation into the facts surrounding the rape and other forms of sexual violence and ill-treatment to which she was subjected on 20 August 2002. It also recommended to prosecute, try and punish those responsible for the violations committed to Ms. Devi Maya Nepal, provide detailed information about the results of the investigation, provide Ms. Devi Maya Nepal any necessary and adequate psychological rehabilitation and medical treatment free of charge, provide adequate compensation and appropriate measures of satisfaction for the violations suffered, including arranging an official apology in a private ceremony. It further recommends Nepal to criminalize torture and provide for appropriate sanctions and remedies commensurate with the gravity of the crime, adapt the definition of rape and other forms of sexual violence in accordance with international standards, guarantee that cases of rape, other forms of sexual violence and torture give rise to a prompt, impartial and effective investigation, allow for criminal prosecution of those responsible for such crimes and remove obstacles that hinder the filing of complaints and effective access to justice and compensation for victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, namely in the context of the armed conflict in Nepal, as forms of torture, including by significantly increasing the statute of limitations commensurate with the gravity of such crimes.
|Prosecution and punishment of those responsible and provide the author with the author with detailed information about the results of the investigation|
|Rehabilitation, Reparation and Medical Treatment|
|Appropriate measures of satisfaction|
|Criminalize torture and provide appropriate sanctions and remedies|
|Adapt the definition of rape and other forms of sexual violence in accordance with international standards|
|Guarantee that cases of rape, other forms of sexual violence and torture give rise to a prompt, impartial and effective investigation|
|Allows for criminal prosecution of those responsible for crimes|
|Remove obstacle that hinder the filing of complaints and effective access to justice|
|Translation and dissemination of the Views|
Note: The State of Nepal has time to implement the decision of the HRC by May 2022.
Efforts for Implementation
- The author is currently awaiting the implementation of the recommendations by the State until May 2022, as allotted by the Human Rights Committee.