Ambassadors express concerns about Dissapearance Bill (14 january 2008)
On 14 January Heads of Missions including the British Ambassador; the US Ambassador; the Danish Ambassador; the French Chargé representing the EU Presidency; and a representative of the European Commission called on the Home Minister, Hon Krishna Sitaula, and raised concerns over the draft bill on disappearances and the police investigation into the death of Maina Sunuwar.
The Heads of Mission, including Norway and Finland, urged the Home Minister to uphold Nepal’s own standards by acting in line with the 1 June Supreme Court ruling to form an independent, impartial and credible commission on disappearances, based on international human rights standards. This will include: ensuring adequate powers for the Commission to initiate inquiries of its own accord; provisions in relations to protection of witnesses; and clarity of mandate. Also in line with the 1 June Supreme Court ruling, Heads of Mission urged the Home Minister to enact a law to criminalise enforced disappearance that will have retroactive effect.
Heads of Mission said: “we look forward to a Bill on disappearances being passed by Parliament and we urge the Government to draft a Bill in accordance with Supreme Court rulings and international standards, following open consultation with the key stakeholders including OHCHR, NHRC, civil society and victim groups.”
As part of the Government’s duty to uphold the rule of law, the Heads of Mission urged the Home Minister to carry out a complete and credible criminal investigation into those alleged to have disappeared at the Bhairabnath Battalion and the death of Maina Sunuwar.
They said: “those who are guilty of crimes, both state and non-state actors, must be brought to justice if Nepal is to become a society where violence is not tolerated. Government action on disappearances and past human rights violations is key to tackling the wider issue of impunity in Nepal and an important step towards building a peaceful society based on the rule of law.”
Note for the Editors
The Heads of Missions led by the British Ambassador Dr Andrew Hall called on the Home Minister on 14 January.
This statement is issued by the British Embassy on behalf of all the Heads of Missions, including the Norwegians and Finns who took part in the meeting.
14 January 2008