Hold individuals responsible for disappearances, says rights body

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New York, Nov 27 (UNI) Human Rights Watch and the Nepal-based Advocacy Forum said the government's proposed bill to criminalise enforced ''disappearances'' and to provide an independent high-level commission to investigate cases occurring in the Nepal's bloody civil war could be a step towards systematic impunity for human rights violations in the country.

''Disappearances were perhaps the worst aspect of a dirty and ugly war in Nepal,'' Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the Nepal Constituent Assembly yesterday.

''Yet so far no one has been held accountable,'' it added.

The Human Rights Watch and the Advocacy Forum urged the Assembly to scrutinise and debate the bill rigorously to ensure that it would create a system to hold perpetrators accountable and provide appropriate compensation to victims or their families.

The letter proposed specific measures to improve the bill.

During the civil war, Nepal attained the sad distinction of having the largest number of new ''disappearances'' reported to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances.

''We welcome the disappearances bill, as it is a hopeful step on the road to accountability,'' said Mandira Sharma, director of the Advocacy Forum. ''But it needs to meet international standards to have a chance of success,'' she added.

UNI XC SW CS1235

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