Four UN special rapporteurs on human rights seek details on investigations into deaths in custody and police actionsIn a correspondence addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the four special rapporteurs have said that non-investigation into such deaths is against international conventions Nepal is party to.
Amid increasing reports of custodial deaths and police torture of the minorities, four United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights have asked the Nepal government to provide details of investigations and actions taken against perpetrators, if any.
In their written correspondence to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the special rapporteurs have mentioned about six cases of deaths either in police custody or in police action in a nearly one-year period between October 2019 and August 2020 and sought details on the steps taken towards providing justice to the victims.
For example, Bijay Mahara, 19, from Garuda Municipality, Rautahat was severely tortured torture by Nepal Police while in custody and died in course of treatment on August 27, 2020.
Other cases include Sambhu Sada Musahar, who was in police custody on charges of hitting two persons, one of whom died, by a tractor, died while in custody on June 10, Durgesh Yadav, 24, from Aurahi Rural Municipality, Siraha died in police custody on July 1, 2020 and Rajan Yadav from Ramgopalpur Municipality-7, Sahasaula, Mahottari district was shot dead on May 24 last year on charges of drug peddling.
Similarly, Rasikul Alam, 38, from Jhapa Rural Municipality, Jhapa was killed in a police shooting on August 26, while participating in a demonstration against the arrest of two Muslim men who had been accused of slaughtering an ox.
“Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any additional investigation, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to the death in custody of the above-mentioned persons,” reads the correspondence. “If no investigative action has been initiated, please explain how this is compatible with the international human rights obligations of Nepal.”
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on minority issues have also raised concerns over the government’s reluctance towards investigating such cases.
“It is reported that police routinely refuse to accept complaints and to register First Information Reports (FIRs, the initial complaints to police which formally initiate investigations); and when FIRs are registered, police and prosecutors routinely delay in carrying out investigations, even when issued orders and legal rulings are made by the Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court,” reads their correspondence.