Nepal made little progress in ending impunity, accounting for past violations or ensuring respect for human rights. Officials actively obstructed accountability mechanisms, and commitments made by political leaders as part of the peace process were not fulfilled in practice. Torture and other ill-treatment in police custody remained widespread. Ethnic, religious and gender discrimination went largely unchallenged. Violence against women and girls persisted.
Under the 2006 Peace Accord, the Constituent Assembly was tasked with writing a new Constitution addressing human rights issues at the core of Nepal’s political conflict. However, the Constituent Assembly’s term expired on 28 May without completing a draft. Nepal failed to elect a Prime Minister after voting numerous times; the country was governed by the caretaker government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. Under the Public Security Act, police arrested and detained people, including peaceful Tibetan demonstrators, without any formal procedures.Top of page
A long-delayed draft bill to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a requirement of the Peace Accord, was tabled in parliament in April but had not been ratified. The draft had notable shortcomings, including the proposed Commission’s lack of independence from political influence and a proposal to grant it the power to recommend amnesty for perpetrators of serious human rights violations.Top of page
A draft bill criminalizing enforced disappearances and establishing a Commission of Inquiry was pending. It incorporated proposed amendments to address some of the serious shortcomings of previous drafts. The amendments included defining enforced disappearances in certain circumstances as a crime against humanity and ensuring that punishments were proportionate to the extreme seriousness of the offence. However, families of the disappeared were dissatisfied with the draft and claimed that it was prepared without adequate consultation.
Impunity persisted for perpetrators of human rights abuses during the conflict. The authorities failed to implement court-ordered arrests of military personnel accused of offences involving human rights violations; police refused to file complaints or investigate such cases.
Excessive use of force by the police and military, and killings of people suspected of affiliation with armed groups in faked “encounters” were reported.
Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by police persisted. National laws providing safeguards against torture fell short of international standards, and remained inadequately implemented.
Over 100 mainly Terai-based armed groups continued to commit human rights abuses, including abductions, assaults and killings. Some groups had identifiable political or religious orientations, others functioned as criminal gangs.
Dalits, Indigenous Peoples, disabled people, religious and sexual minorities suffered social exclusion, despite legal recognition of their equal rights. Legislative efforts to combat gender inequality did little to curtail discrimination against women in public and private life. Women, particularly Dalit women, faced obstacles in relation to access to justice, asset and property ownership, inheritance, income and employment conditions, and political representation.
There was some progress in the courts’ approach to caste discrimination. In August, the Kanchanpur Appellate Court upheld two separate district court convictions, made in January and March respectively, of two men for attacks against Dalits that were motivated by caste discrimination.Top of page
Nepal’s quest to “end violence against women in 2010” had little visible impact. In the first half of the year, over 300 domestic violence cases were reported to police in the Kathmandu valley alone; many more went unreported. Women accused of witchcraft (typically poor, isolated or Dalit) were assaulted and tortured by community members. Legislative weakness and inadequate policing obstructed prosecution of domestic and sexual violence cases.
Young Nepalese women sought economic opportunities abroad. Poor regulation, poor implementation of existing laws and corruption all contributed to the exploitation of those travelling abroad for work.Top of page