Purnimaya Lama’s husband, Arjun, was abducted by members of the Maoist party on 19 April 2005 in the village of Chhatrebanjh in Nepal. They were there to celebrate Arjun being elected president of the local secondary school. Witnesses say he was paraded through villages by his captors before being killed. Purnimaya was never to see him again.
After years of campaigning Purnimaya still does not know the truth about what happened to her husband. Now living in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, she wants the police to do a thorough investigation and bring those responsible for his murder to justice. However, despite a Supreme Court ruling in March 2008 ordering the police to register the case all of the accused remain free. This includes Agni Sapkota a senior leader in the Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M) and member of parliament.
During the conflict in Nepal (1996-2006) over 1,300 people are recorded as being ‘disappeared’ by both state security forces and the UCPN-M. Despite various promises made by political parties as part of the peace process little progress has been made in determining the truth, delivering justice and providing reparations to the families of those who are missing. To date not one person has been prosecuted in a civilian court for human rights abuses committed during the conflict.
Amnesty International is working with the families of the disappeared to push for investigations into what happened to their loved ones. We are also lobbying with local groups for a Commission of Inquiry into disappearances. Although Arjun Lama was one of hundreds of people disappeared progress towards bringing those responsible for his killing to justice may open the way for further prosecutions.