‘Torture high in Tarai district’The incidents of torture in Tarai districts have been found to be higher than the national average due largely to lack of awareness and laws.
The incidents of torture in Tarai districts have been found to be higher than the national average due largely to lack of awareness and laws.
According to a study carried out by the Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance (THRD Alliance), 23.76 percent of 766 detainees interviewed in 19 districts reported torture this year. The national average of torture incidents among the detainees stands at around 17 percent.
The National Human Rights Commission has received 46 complaints of torture this year alone. Commission Spokesperson Mohana Ansari said some of the complaints were registered by security personnel who were bullied and punished by senior officials from within the institution.
Over 13 percent of the interviewed detainees were never produced to the court within 24 hours of their arrest and over 11 percent of them were not provided with medical care, in a ‘clear breach of constitutional guarantee of fundamental rights and universal principles of human rights and fair trail, says the report ‘Torture in Terai 2016’.
“What I have found is that police officers also deliberately try to avoid providing the detainee with lawyer to avoid unnecessary hassles before forcing them to confession, which gives rise to incident of torture,” said Commission Chair Anup Raj Sharma, while releasing the report on Thursday.
Torture is often used as a tool for investigation by security force. Nepal has not criminalised torture till date, due to which the act of torture is pervasive, says the report. A victim of torture can seek compensation but no action will be taken against the perpetrator of torture.
The government had prepared a torture bill after arrest of Nepal Army Col Kumar Lama in the UK, under the universal jurisdiction in 2013 as preparation for his repatriation. The bill was registered at the Parliament Secretariat, but it has never been tabled in House session for discussion.
After Col Lama’s release last year, the bill has been gathering dust in the bill section of Parliament.
The Supreme Court has also ordered the government to criminalise torture for the purpose of ongoing transitional justice process. The government has not budged, saying that it is part of amendment to the Transitional Justice Act.