Surveillance making conflict victims waryThough the transitional justice bodies have been taking complaints from conflict victims across the country, it has not been easy for those who want to register their complaints. Some are finding complaint registration a difficult process, as they are being watched by security personnel while filling the forms.
Though the transitional justice bodies have been taking complaints from conflict victims across the country, it has not been easy for those who want to register their complaints. Some are finding complaint registration a difficult process, as they are being watched by security personnel while filling the forms.
According to some conflict victims in Birendranagar, Surkhet, last month they were distracted, and also concerned, while filing forms at the Itram-based local peace committee (LPC), as two unfamiliar faces started asking them against who they were registering the complaints.
Later, with the help of LPC employees, they found that the duo in question were personnel of the Nepal Army.
The incident occurred on April 20. The following day, two more NA personnel had approached the LPC office to seek details of complaints and the individuals who had filed them. LPC coordinator is learnt to have told the security personnel that his office could not disclose the details.
Earlier also reports had surfaced that security personnel were seeking details of complaints filed at LPCs in the various districts. It is learnt that security personnel try to get information in the guise of mediapersons. “But even to the journalists we do not provide details. We just give them information like number of complaints registered,” said Mohan Thapa, coordinator of the LPC.
“A victim informed us that a security person had met him and enquired about the complaint he had filed. He had told the victim that he was a journalist and was sent by the coordinator of the peace committee. He was clearly lying,” said Thapa.
It is estimated that there are around 1,200 conflict victims in Surkhet.
According to the LPC, victims have registered 177 complaints at the TRC and 21 at Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons.
TRC member Manchala Jha, who recently inspected complaint registration in 10 districts in Mid-West, said that security agencies were keeping surveillance.
“We did find such incidents during our inspection,” said Jha. “The TRC had immediately drawn the attention of chiefs of security agencies to this fact,” said Jha.
She maintained that victims cannot file complaints freely if security personnel keep them under surveillance.
Security personnel in Surkhet, who were in civvies, said that their “chief had sent them to the LPC office to find out against whom complaints were being filed”.