Int’l Day Of The Disappeared ‘Time Does Not Heal, Answers Do’

Kathmandu, Aug. 30: While the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of people disappeared during the decade-long armed conflict has been established, 1,326 people in Nepal are still unaccounted for, almost fourteen years after the end of the war.

“Over the years, families of 3,253 missing people reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nepal and the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) the disappearance of their relatives, often following their alleged arrest or capture by one of the parties to the conflict, or during armed encounters,” said the ICRC.
Issuing a statement on Saturday, on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared (IDoD) it said that the

ICRC and the NRCS had been maintaining updated list of missing persons in Nepal that is published annually since 2007.

This year’s updated list of 1,326 people, who are still missing in connection with the decade-long (1996-2006) internal armed-conflict in Nepal. The details of the missing people will be available at the websites of the ICRC from Monday.

August 30 is a day to commemorate the persons who have gone missing in connection with, mainly, the armed conflict worldwide and observed globally, said the ICRC.

The situation in the country is not so encouraging though as the commissions for transitional justice – Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons – have failed to live up to the hope of the people and families of the missing.

Meanwhile, the government is yet to pass the drafted amendment to the Transitional Justice Act. The draft has the provisions mentioning reparation as a right of the victims, removal of statute of limitation and creating a conducive environment for victims.

“The ICRC is advocating for a comprehensive humanitarian mechanism as a part of the transitional justice process to address the needs of conflict victims, including missing persons, by working with the conflict victim associations and the government,” said the ICRC.

According to it, the ICRC reinforces the capacity of the conflict victim associations to engage with the government, focusing on the missing, but within an all conflict victims approach.
In the meantime, the ICRC is advocating for a missing (truth telling) mechanism with the government to ensure the right to know of the family of the missing persons, it said.

“For families of missing persons, time does not heal, answers do. The active search for missing loved ones can continue for decades,” it said. The ICRC has suggested the government to consider international humanitarian law as the set of law to be used for the eventual ad hoc transitional justice judiciary.

The Rising Nepal

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