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HRW urges Nepal to appoint new human rights commissioners

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Friday urged [press release] the government of Nepal to appoint qualified new members to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) [official website] in order to best ensure the protection of Nepali citizens. Despite notice by then-commissioners, along with an outcry from many citizen groups, the government allowed the terms of all commissioners to lapse on Monday without replacement, essentially dismantling the NHRC. HRW argued that without proper leadership, the NHRC will become powerless and ineffective, leaving the victims of rights abuses without a voice. To remedy the situation, HRW suggests that the government should expeditiously appoint an independent body to nominate new commissioners.

Nepal has been criticized numerous times for its alleged disregard for human rights. In October 2012 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report [text] urging justice for victims of international law violations that occurred during Nepal's civil war, a conflict that resulted in approximately 13,000 deaths [JURIST reports] and 1,500 disappearances. The report cited unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrest and sexual assault as some of the major offenses to have occurred during that period. In April 2012 HRW and the International Commission of Jurists [advocacy websites] urged Nepal [JURIST report] to reject blanket amnesty [press release] plans for international crimes committed during the country's civil war. In the same month, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang [official profile] spoke [JURIST report] to the Constituent Assembly of Nepal [official website] about several human rights issues in the country, including a reluctance to prosecute war crimes and insufficient progress increasing women's rights [texts, PDF]. On several previous occasions, the OHCHR and HRW [JURIST reports] have both appealed to the government of Nepal to investigate human rights violations allegedly committed during the civil war.

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