09/01/2015, 00.00
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Activists slam government for ignoring 1,400 civil war victims still missing

by Christopher Sharma
Last Sunday was International Day of the Disappeared. During Nepal’s decade-long civil war, some 12,800 people were killed and almost 100,000 were displaced. At the end, both government and rebel forces had committed war crimes. As victims tell their stories, activists call on the government to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – On the International Day of the Disappeared (30 August), several humanitarian organisations have called on the Government of Nepal to bring justice to the more than 1,400 civilians who are still missing since the end of the civil war in 2006.

One of those missing is Sanjaya Magar’s father. "On 30 August each year, for ten years, we have commemorated the world day of missing persons,” he told AsiaNews. “However, remembering brings more pain. Why should we mark this anniversary since we have not seen any results?”

Several human rights organisations have presented a report to Nepal’s Peace and Reconstruction Minister Rakam Chamjong, demanding justice for the people who went missing during the country’s ten-year civil war.

For many years, Maoist rebels fought against the monarchy to establish a People's Republic of Nepal. The conflict ended with the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Accord between the Nepali Armed Forces and Maoists on 21 November 2006 under the auspices of the United Nations.

More than 12,800 people lost their life during the war with nearly 100,000 displaced. In this climate of anarchy, the army, which controlled the urban areas, and Maoists, which were present in the rural areas, committed crimes against the civilian population, abducting dissidents and all those who resisted or complained.

Maoist rebels took Magar’s father "from his own home, at night, whilst we all slept.” However, “The Nepali state is now responsible because the Maoists*are now in government. After ten years, it is our right to know what happened to my father. Although we mark this anniversary, the authorities in Kathmandu do not listen to us."

Even though Nanda Prasad Adhikari, father of Krishna Prasad Adhikari, died in a government hospital in Kathmandu after going on a hunger strike, those who perpetrated violence on him have never been arrested.

Bishnu Bhandari’s story is not that different. “Fourteen after my father went missing, I am still trying to find him. I represent thousands of people who are still waiting to learn the fate of loved ones.”

“Security forces took my father, beat him and then tortured him in public. After that, he disappeared inside a detention camp. Criminals and the police played the same role in this tragedy.”

For him, “The anniversary takes us back to the time when our family members were mercilessly tortured and killed. The authorities still ignore us and there is no room to give voice to the victims."

The worst thing, he adds, "is that hundreds of perpetrators were identified, and yet the government has done nothing. In my father’s case, in November 2014 the UN Human Rights Committee called on the Nepali authorities to investigate and bring justice to my family. But Kathmandu has neither responded to the request nor contacted us."

Activists want the government to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as soon as possible.

The General Assembly adopted the pact in 2006. So far, 81 countries have signed it, but only 13 national parliaments have ratified it. It needs 20 to come into force.

* Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M).

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