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Human rights groups urge Nepal to reject amnesty legislation

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) [advocacy websites] urged [press release] Nepalese legislators [official website] on Thursday to reject certain sections of the proposed Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) [text, PDF] bill for violating international law. The advocacy groups are concerned that the bill includes language from a 2012 executive order that allowed amnesty for crimes committed during Nepal's civil war. Nepal's Supreme Court rejected [JURIST report] this blanket amnesty legislation, ruling that the law failed to meet international standards. These advocacy groups called on Nepal to revise the TRC to comply with the Supreme Court's decision. In order to do so, the groups ask that the legislature prohibits any amnesty possibility for gross human rights violations or crimes under international 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. In February Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists issued a joint statement [JURIST report] calling on Nepal's parliament to reject amnesty legislation that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In January 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 [JURIST report] 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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