INSEC representatives have reported that the ongoing indefinite strike in Tarai-Madhes for past 20 days has caused shortage of daily commodities, petroleum products and medicines. The bandh has made life much harder for those who earn livelihood by daily labor. It has been learnt that the price of consumer goods have gone six times up due to the bandh. There are reports of many passengers and drivers being injured when hit by stones and beer bottles hurled by protestors at the vehicles escorted by police.

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Situation Report Summary

An elected government was formed in the country 19 months after the dissolution of Constitutional Assembly. The government formed in the leadership of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi based on the consensus of major political parties last year handed over the executive power to the people’s representatives after conducting a successful election in November 2013. There were widespread criticisms on formation of the Regmi-chaired government. However, the criticism on the government subsided following successful preparation and conducting of the election. Chairperson of Council of Ministers Regmi, who was chief of both legislature and judiciary at that time, replied to the queries regarding whether he would return to the judiciary or not by resigning from the post of Chief Justice once the new government was formed.


Assuming the post of Prime Minister on February 10, Sushil Koirala announced to move forward by consensus and coordination; however, it took more than a month to bring the common minimum program of the government due to Nepali Congress’ stand on not providing the Ministry of Home Affairs to UML. Due to their own commitment, the political parties had a major challenge and responsibility in front of them to promulgate the new constitution within the stipulated time and ending the political transition by completing the remaining task of peace process along with delivering good governance and relief to the people. But, the people could not experience any activeness from the government during this period. The normal life of people has become more difficult due to price hike, black market and lack of good governance.


The understanding reached between Nepali Congress and UML on March 18 expressed commitment to prepare preliminary draft of constitution within six months and promulgate the constitution through Constituent Assembly in the remaining six month and conduct local election within six months to strengthen the foundation of democracy. But the government showed no interest in bringing necessary laws to conduct local election despite the ministers’ repeated promise to hold local election in May/June 2014.


Deliberations on issues regarding taking ownership of the decisions made by previous Constituent Assembly started in the Constituent Assembly.Similarly, formation of five thematic committees and selection of their chief and beginning of discussion regarding the new constitution can be taken as achievement of these three months. However, the Constituent Assembly could not get its full shape due to the delay in nominating 26 members from the cabinet though five months have elapsed after election and three months have passed after the Constituent Assembly was constituted.


Though the common minimum program of the government expressed commitment to take efforts for constituting making, strengthening democracy and basic national interest by holding discussion with political parties inside and outside the Constitution Assembly, the government did not take any initiation to hold discussion, dialogue with political parties outside the Constituent Assembly, Madhesi parties and other groups raising issues of identity. Because of this, obstruction by CPN-M which rejects the Constituent Assembly and some ethnic groups has continued to pose a challenge for the new Constituent Assembly. There hasn’t been adequate attempt by the government to bring the parties, which are out of the Constituent Assembly, to consensus. The parties out of the Constituent Assembly have already said that they will not accept the constitution made by the Constitution Assembly. If this issue is not addressed on time, there is a danger that the constitution might not be promulgated or rejected even if promulgated. Top leaders of major political parties seem unaware on this matter.


Meanwhile, the bill on Commission on Investigation of Disappeared People and Truth and Reconciliation, a major component of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, was presented at the parliament by the government. But the bill has proposed for amnesty to the perpetrators involved in serious crimes instead of justice to the victims and action to the perpetrators. The Legislature-Parliament endorsed the bill despite widespread protest. The Supreme Court on January 2, 2014 had ruled against amnesty to those involved in grave violations of human rights and ordered that the bill should be in line with international human rights standards.


The National Human Rights Commission is without officials at a time when there is no improvement in human rights situation and increase in violence against women. The NHRC is being made defunct in various issues as the positions of commissioners lay vacant. The government could not appoint Justices in Supreme Court which led to increase in pending cases as only five permanent Judges decide cases in the apex court.


People were very optimistic for the positive changes in human rights situation especially after the formation of elected government. However, the result is not as expected. INSEC has documented a total of 1,288 incidents of human rights violation during the period of January-March 2014. During this quarter, a total of 92 persons, including 24 women and 68 men were victimized by the state party. Similarly, a total of 1,136 persons, including 1003 women and 129 men and four third genders were victimized by non-state parties.


A total of 157 incidents of child rights violations were documented. At least two people lost their life in a firing by state party.


Mohammed Sherajul Mansuri, 25, of Bandiya Banchauri VDC-2 was killed on the morning of February 6, 2013 in police firing at Sonama VDC-5 in Mahottari. The postmortem of the body was performed on the same day at Jaleshwor Hospital. The body which could not be identified at time was later handed over to the family on February 13. On the same day, Israfil Mansoori, 35, brother of the victim lodged an FIR against SP Ram Prasad Shrestha and four other police officials of District Police Office of Mahottari accusing them of killing his brother after arrest. However the District Police Office refused to register the complaint of murder but documented the case under accidental death with a registration number 133. The victim’s party approached Appellate Court Janakpur on March 20 demanding mandamus in the name of District Police Office. The District Police Office of Mahottari replied that Sherajul was killed in a retaliatory firing when a group of some 10 men opened fire at the police. One pistol had been recovered from him.


There were 14 victims of inhuman behavior; three victims of economic, social and cultural rights, 32 were victimized when their right to assembly was violated and 28 faced caste-based discrimination.


22 people were victimized in incidents of torture and arrest by the state party. One person died in custody. In incidents of beating, 22 people from state and 44 from non-state actors were victimized. A total of 11 people were victimized in incident of threat – eight by state actors and three by non-state actors.


During the period of three months, a total of 766 incidents of violence against women was documented. Among them, 20 women were murdered by family members, two were murdered in dowry dispute and five others were victimized on same issue. Other incidents of violence against women include one incident of forced abortion, six incidents on women trafficking, 575 victims of domestic violence, 20 of abuse of women on allegation of being witch, 67 of polygamy, 44 of rape, 21 of attempted rape, 15 of incidents of sexual violence, one of threat and 17 others were victimized in trafficking, according to the INSEC documentation. Most of the incidents of domestic violence included deprivation of food, clothes, expulsion from the house, polygamy and abuses on charge of having extra-marital affairs. During this quarter, a total of 117 women were victimized in Kathmandu, 29 in Morang, 28 in Rautahat, 25 in Kailali and 25 women in Khotang.


Police have been found not registering case in case of death of women who allegedly died due to domestic violence and even when relatives of victims filed complaint informing about the domestic violence she had to undergo since abetment to suicide is not a criminal offense in Nepal. The family of Lakpa Dolma Thapa, 19, of Pandusen VDC-7, Bajura District lodged a complaint at District Police Office of Bajura claiming that the death of Lakpa on February 14 was not suicide but the murder, however the police did not register the case. During this quarter, 20 women were murdered by the family members. This figure includes two each in Siraha, Saptari, Nawalparasi and Morang District. Most of the incidents of murder by family members are dowry-related.


A seven-month pregnant Najarana Khatun, 22, of Rajbiraj municipality-7 of Saptari District was set on fire by her mother-in-law Banoo Khatun, 44, and sister-in-law Nurjahan Khatun, 20, on March 8. Police arrested the accused from the incident site. The victim was taken to BPKIHS Dharan for treatment but she died while undergoing treatment on the same day. The postmortem of the body was performed on the same day. Prior to her death, the victim had given statement saying that her mother-in-law set her on fire. The victim’s father Phul Hussain lodged a complaint at District Police Office of Madhuban VDC-5 on March 9. The case of murder was filed against both accused by the police.


The locals of Benimanipur VDC-7 in Nawalparasi District had lodged an FIR at Area Police Office of Kawasoti on February 1 against Krishna Prasad Sapkota, 59, accusing him of murdering his daughter Laxmi Singh Thakuri, 35, of same VDC over a family dispute and burying her near a ditch. The accused was arrested by the police on February 26 and remanded in custody.


It is clear that the violence against women is increasing due to weak implementation of laws; however, the government is showing apathy in taking concrete steps. Lack of proper measures to address prevailing superstitions and ill practices in the society have also contributed to rise in violence against women. Such incident can be minimized to some extent through necessary reform in the curriculum and program for the public awareness. There is a trend in police department of settling the incident of violence against women on compromise based on the provision of reconciliation in Domestic Violence (Control and Punishment) Act.


The country is going through transition. There is a suspicion among the people whether they will get new constitution or not through this Constituent Assembly. It is all due to the activities of the political parties. The Constituent Assembly is again suffering from the same old ailment. The issues of transitional justice still have not been addressed and the victims of armed conflict are still waiting for justice. For instance, the state has failed to address the demand of Nanda Prasad and Ganga Maya Adhikari. UCPN-M and CPN-M have warned the government against taking action against those accused of being involved in conflict-period crimes. They have demanded all issues related to the armed conflict be settled through TRC.


There has been a slight improvement in people’s Civil and Political Rights; however the state has failed in its responsibility regarding protection and promotion of people’s Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. There has been no improvement in right to education, health and food during this quarter. The posts of health workers in health posts and health centers have not been filled as per the allocation. INSEC representative from various district have observed during monitoring that most of the prison in the district are overcrowded and the inmates are facing difficulties. All the stakeholders including the government and the CA members have a responsibility to uphold people’s hope of lasting peace and ensure timely constitution while giving equal priority to protection and promotion of rights that affect people’s normal life.

The human right situation of the country from July 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013 was not encouraging for people concerned with human rights as human rights violation and abuse continued in these months. INSEC database and online news archive recorded killings of 23 people from July to September while two people were abducted. There were total 70 cases of rape, among them 27 where adult whereas 43 were minors. This is an increasing total as compared to the previous quarter. The online data showed four cases of inter-caste marriage and two cases of child marriage whereas a total of 11 cases of caste-based discrimination. More than 37 cases were reported on Violence against woman and domestic violence.

Out of 23 killings reported, a case was of Laxmi Thakur, 6, who was killed by her drunken father Bhagiram Thakur, 24, of Gajeda VDC-2. A 22-year-old woman Mofidum Nesa of Praskota VDC-2 had to lose her life for asking a citizenship certificate, which was her basic socio-political right. She was strangulated by her husband and mother-in-law on September 4. Likewise, Assistant Professor at Janak Hajari Bidhyapith, Satya Narayan Gareri, 46, of Arnama VDC-5 in Siraha and currently living in Janakpur Municipality-8 was killed by an unidentified group. Gareri was gunshot on the abdomen and also had slit throat. His body was found around 6 in the morning on the road linking Janakpur and Kurtha in Kurtha VDC-6.


The cases of women rights violation and domestic violence were reported in a large number during this period. Murder, assault, rape and beating continued in this quarter. A 45-year-old Parwati Devi Chaudhary was beaten to death on charge of practicingwitchcraft in Supauli VDC-9, Parsa district on August 16. She was thrashed by a group of villagers, accusing her of casting spell on her neighbor Jagadish Rauts daughter Pratima Chaudhary, 20. Earlier, a single woman Saraswati Devi, 50, of Bishrampur VDC-1 was inhumanely treated on August 6 on charge of being witch. The accused in the case, Manjay Chaurasiya, 16, Lal Chuniya Chaurasiya, 42, and Devimati Chaurasiya, 43, were held and interrogated, police informed. A 15-year-old Deuri Parwah was murdered and her body was found in decayed condition in the drain in the evening of July 16. The family suspected that she was murdered after rape when she went out of home.


Throughout this quarter, 11 cases of caste-based discrimination were reported. Nanda Lal Biswakarma of Ratnawali VDC-6 in Sindhuli was beaten on charge of using public water mill and worshipping in a temple. He said that he was being barred from using the mill and worshipping by a community of 15-16 Chhetri households of Okharbot after he started living in the area six months ago. Likewise, Deepak Nepali, 29, of Dewal of Rithapata VDC-8 accused Mohan Bam, 45, of Paiyatola of the same VDC-5 of insulting him by caste-based abuses. He also added that Bam rebuffed him when he had gone to the local temple to worship by saying that a dum (caste-based abuse for community of Pariyar) had come to the temple without taking off his slippers.


The Election Commission released the Code of Conduct for the upcoming Constituent Assembly for conducting free and fair elections during the same quarter which is more optimistic from human rights point of view. The concerned groups were consulted prior to finalizing the Code of Conduct. One of the accused in Krishna Adhikari murder case was also arrested in this quarter. Adhikaris parents were sitting in a hunger strike for 45 days before the arrest came. A bomb which was concealed in a plastic bag went off at around 11:45 am at Survey Office in Malangawa, injuring at least 12 persons out of which six were critically injured and taken to Kathmandu for further treatment.


Meanwhile, CPN-M cadre Ram Pariyar, 24 was arrested on September 16 and was kept in custody at District Police Office in Dhulikhel for his involvement in arson of a bus carrying passengers to Melamchi from Banepa. As another political incident unfolded, CPN-M led front of 33 parties has decided to boycott the CA elections.


There were a couple of cases of child marriage and abduction throughout this quarter. A complaint was filed against Nabin Kapar, 18, and his father Sikindar Kapar on August 20 on charge of forcefully performing marriage of a 13-year-old girl. And Akbar Pathan, 19, of Banskhor in Singhkhor VDC-4 was abducted by an unidentified group on the evening of August 14. The victim was abducted while returning his home from Taulihawa.


There were eight cases of police torture and couple of cases of attack on journalist as well. Journalist Hemanta Chaudhary, 29, and Binod Acharya of New Course Daily, being published from Nepalgunj, were maltreated by the police on duty on August 6. Chaudhary is a District Secretary of Revolutionary Journalist Federation and employee of News 24.The journalists were maltreated with a foul language by the policeman near the Puspalal Chok while returning from work. They were further beaten with boots and fist by the policeman, Chaudhary told. Likewise, Padam Bahadur Shahi, 42, of Pitmari in Naubasta VDC-2 and Jhup Bahadur Bistha, 37, of Tikulipur of Kachanapur VDC-7 filed a case against police at the District Police Office on July 24 accusing them of torturing them in custody. They filed the case with the support of Advocacy Forum. They also said that they had injuries in facial bone and needed to be operated after beaten by SI Narpati Bhatta, Police Constable Nar Bahadur Nepali and another Constable with last name as Chaudhary posted at District Police Office.


The absence of the elected government, stalled peace process, impunity and the obstruction of rule of law is a disappointing situation of human rights during this quarter.