OHCHR raps Nepalese Army for rights abuse

Accusing the Nepalese Army of trying to cover up human rights abuses by its personnel, the UN human rights office has alleged that the force was sheltering soldiers responsible for brutally torturing to death a 15-year-old girl in custody in February 2004.

Kathmandu, Dec 21: Accusing the Nepalese Army of
trying to cover up human rights abuses by its personnel, the
UN human rights office has alleged that the force was
sheltering soldiers responsible for brutally torturing to
death a 15-year-old girl in custody in February 2004.

Releasing the findings of its investigation, the office of
the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the
soldiers of Nepal Army's Birendra peace operations training
centre in Panchkhal were responsible for the death of Maina
Sunuwar and demanded that all cases of human rights abuses be
tried by civilian courts.

It alleged the teenager was subject to torture in the
presence of seven NA officers and soldiers, including two
captains who ordered that Maina's head be submerged in a large
pot of water for one minute six or seven times under the
orders of then lt. Col. Babi Khatri.

According to the report, the soldiers then administered
electric shocks to her wet hands and feet four or five times.
The torture continued for one and a half hours, after which
she was detained in a building on the premises of the
training centre, where she was left blindfolded and
handcuffed. She later began vomiting and foaming at the
mouth, and died without having received medical treatment.

The court martial, however, ordered the two captains to
pay Rs 25,000 and the colonel to pay Rs 50,000 as
compensation, and ruled them ineligible for promotion for one
year and two years respectively.

"Justice has not been done", it said adding the result of
the court martial was "wholly inadequate".

The "horrific details" of the case "suggest that the
army's refusal to provide such documentation directly to OHCHR
was part of an attempt to cover up the gravity of abuses".
demanding an investigation by civilian authorities into
the case, the Ohchr said it was necessary to provide
accountability for Sunuwar's death and to deter future human
rights violations.

It asked the army chief to ensure that other cases of
serious human rights violations "will not be similarly blocked
from the civilian courts".

"There is still opportunity for the government to
demonstrate to the Nepali people and international community
tat it is serious about ending impunity by holding human
rights violators accountable for their actions, OHCHR said in
a release.

Bureau Report

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