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International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance: Conflict victims in relentless quest for justice

Kalika Khadka, KATHMANDU: Every year the Buwako Mukh Herne Din (Father’s Day in Nepalis’ tradition) stokes the unpleasant memory to Sneha Basnet of Gorkha district regarding her father Narayan Bahadur Basnet who was forcefully disappeared by then State side from his home district during the insurgency.
Worse to that, Sneha’s mother had eloped, leaving behind her following the incident. The 23-year-old told RSS on the occasion of Nepali Father’s Day coinciding with the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance on Friday, that every year the Father’s Day brings back the memory of her father.
Twenty years have elapsed since the incident took place, Sneha has lost her hope that her father would return alive. But she has not lost the hope of getting justice.
She is also hopeful for receiving compensation-one million rupees-the government provides to the family of victims of forcefully disappeared ones and those killed from the both State and insurgents side during the decade-long insurgent.
At a programme organized here by the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) today, Shena got to meet Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affair Bhanubhakta Dhakal, Attorney General Agni Kharel and stakeholders. She lamented that she had not received the justice from the State yet.
According to her, the real justice to her would be when the State would confirm on her father’s status-whether alive or dead- or when she would get the cash compensation which she plans to invest on her education.
Minister Dhakal pledged to take the matter into serious account and will get back to her and other conflict-victims.
More than 17,000 people were killed during the decade-long Maoist insurgency, from both sides-government forces and Maoist insurgents. The government has distributed Rs 1 million to each conflict victims or to their families as an interim relief package.
Manjima Dhakal, of Gorkha, was seven year old when her father was also forcefully disappeared. Her mother single-handedly brought her up. Nothing is heard from and on his father’s part so far.
Manjina, now 28, sobbed, “My father went on missing since I was a kid. I can’t describe the suffering my mother endured to raise me up and make our ends meet solely.” She ranted,” For how long we should wait for the justice? It is a trade of anguish on the name of justice!”
Sneha and Manjima are the representatives of the conflict-survivors who have been relentlessly perusing their quest for justice while justice still remains elusive to them.
The families of those forcefully disappeared ones have drawn the attention of the government towards making the missing one’s status public. “Bring back the lost persons –Dead or Alive’, they demand.
More than 12 years have passed since the epoch-making Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was signed between the then State side and the rebel side on November 21, 2006.
By forming the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) on February 2015, both the parties had agreed to establish the truth about the conduct of the war and ensure the survivors of the conflict receive both justice and reparation while the rebel side had pledged to make public the statues of the forcefully disappeared within 60 days but it has not been translated into action.
The Constitution of Nepal had fixed two-year term of the twin commissions and also mentioned that the term could be extended by a year if they could not complete the works as per their terms of reference.
The two transitional justice commissions completed their three-year term including the extended one year term, but could not complete their works. So, their term was extended by one year more through an ordinance. These Commissions have been devoid of office-bearers since April this year.
Minister Dhakal said, “We are in the process of concluding the transitional justice at the earliest. The government intends to conclude the transitional justice.”He assured that the conflict-victims would be involved while formulating the laws as per the demand their demands and the verdicts of the court.
Furthermore, the Minister assured that consultations would be made with the experts and stakeholders and concerns of compliance with the constitution, international treaties and Supreme Court’s verdict will be addressed while considering the amending on the related laws.
Attorney General Agni Kharel, extending his gratitude for the patience of the conflict-victims, empathized,” It is understandable that the conflict-victims express their issues while seeking justice. Such a long wait for justice is certainly painful. The government should feel for the conflict-victims and should not delay in dispensing justice to them.”
The CIDEP has so far received 3,197 complaints from the conflict-victims. The then officer-bearers have already conducted a detail study of the 2,008 complaints of 64 districts.
CIDEP Secretary Krishnajivi Ghimire expressed his confidence that the conflict-victims would get the justice at the earliest. RSS

Published Date: Friday, August 30th, 2019 | 12:48 PM

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