HRW urges Nepal to probe abuse cases over charter protests

Human Rights Watch asks Nepal government to ensure the probing of complaints of abuse over charter protests.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Nepalese police clash with supporters of opposition politcal parties during a protest against the draft constitution in Kathmandu.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday called for the Nepalese government to assign an independent body to investigate allegations of rights violations following the adoption of the first democratic constitution by the Himalayan republic last year.

“Despite endless promises of reform, impunity remains the norm in Nepal,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“Accountability for any abuses by both protesters and police are important, and unfortunately at the moment it looks as if alleged abuses by the police will simply be forgotten.”

The rights group urged Nepal to review its security policy to make sure that security forces do not use excessive force against the protesters.

Nepalese protesters threaten a motorcyclist for defying a three day nationwide strike led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal in Kathmandu on April 7, 2015. (AFP Archive)

HRW stated police reportedly objected to registering First Information Reports, or criminal complaints making it possible for an investigation to be carried out, filed in the name of victims.

The new constitution, which was adopted on September 2015, mandates the division of the country into seven federal provinces.

The protesters, who mostly belong to ethnic minorities, said the new internal borders have left them underrepresented in the national parliament.

In October 2015, Human Rights Watch confirmed 25 killings, including nine police officers and 16 protesters or bystanders during protests.

By the time the protests ended in early 2016, more than 50 people were killed, mostly demonstrators from the Madhesi ethnic minority, who feared the charter would weaken their role in the power structure.