Setbacks for women, minorities in Nepal: report

Setbacks for women, minorities in Nepal: report

nepal flagNepal saw new setbacks in efforts to end impunity for perpetrators of wartime abuses over the last year, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday in its World Report 2014.

The newly elected Constituent Assembly should take immediate steps to implement the 2006 peace agreement and to provide justice for victims of serious human rights violations during the civil war.

The three-year political deadlock before the November 2013 elections for a new Constituent Assembly has stalled efforts to enact legislations or policies to ensure protection of rights, including reforms to flawed citizenship laws that have left 2.1 million people effectively stateless.

In the 667-page world report, its 24th edition, Human Rights Watch reviewed human rights practices in more than 90 countries.

In March, a Truth, Reconciliation and Disappearance bill to investigate serious conflict-related violations was controversially signed into law by the president.

The law failed to define which crimes were eligible for amnesty and which were excluded, giving commissioners potentially wide discretion to make determinations.

As a result, some perpetrators of torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity could be granted amnesty in contravention of international law, it said.

The Supreme Court has since made a ruling that has had the effect of suspending the law.

In a positive move, in January British authorities arrested a Nepali army colonel suspected of torture during the civil war based on the principle of universal jurisdiction for torture.

The rape of a returning female migrant worker from Saudi Arabia in December 2012 by an airport police constable sparked widespread protests, and women’s rights groups demanded reforms in current laws dealing with gender-based violence.

As part of this movement, women’s groups also sought a review of Nepal’s migration policies, including revocation of an August 2012 decree banning women under age 30 from travelling to Gulf countries for work.

In 2013, Nepali authorities continued to impose strict restrictions on Tibetans in Nepal, forbidding protests and gatherings.

Human Rights Watch called for the Nepali authorities to respect the rights of Tibetans in Nepal,

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