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Rights groups urge Nepal to respect Supreme Court ruling rejecting amnesty

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [advocacy websites] issued a joint statement [press release] Friday calling on the Nepal Parliament to reject amnesty legislation that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court [official website]. The Ordinance on Truth, Reconciliation and Disappearances [text, PDF] was struck down [JURIST report] earlier this month for provisions that would have afforded amnesty to some human rights violators. The Supreme Court directed parliament to repeal the ordinance or amend the provisions, but earlier this week, parliament reintroduced it unchanged. Ben Schonveld, South Asia director with the ICJ, said the action "raises serious concerns over the government's respect for the rule of law in Nepal." The rights groups have urged the government to respect the Supreme Court's ruling and introduce new legislation in line with international human rights law.

Nepal's treatment of human rights issues has been a controversial topic in the wake of the civil war [Insight on Conflict backgrounder] that ended in 2006. Last month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] praised the Supreme Court ruling [JURIST report] refusing amnesty for serious human rights violations committed during the civil war. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] called on Nepal authorities [JURIST report] in November to peacefully conclude the Constituent Assembly [official website] elections and move forward with drafting a new constitution. HRW in September urged Nepal to elect qualified new members for its National Human Rights Commission [official website]. The UN expressed concern over the truth and reconciliation ordinance when it was first introduced, calling on parliament [JURIST report] to withdraw the legislation last March. The UN issued a statement [JURIST report] in October 2012 calling for justice for human rights violations from the civil war.

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