Thursday, December 29, 2005

Govt urged to make public status of disappeared

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, December 28[2005]:

It was like a nightmare for 23-year-old Bhagawati Chaudhari, when she saw a group of armed soldiers dragging her husband from her bed. It has been three years and nine months, and the wife is still waiting for the day the government sends her husband back.
“My husband disappeared from our eyes. We do not know whether he is alive or has been shot dead,” she told this daily today. Her husband was abducted and “disappeared” by security men on the night of Chaitra 29, 2058 BS from her home at Manau village in Bardiya.
“They came in a group, broke the door and dragged my husband, saying they send him back the next morning,” she said.
She was married to Prem Prakash Chaudhary for two years. After living a horrible life of bonded labourers, she started dreaming of her own family at her aunt’s land, by making a thatched shed. But the incident shattered all her dreams. “My son was six weeks old then. He often asks me about his father and I cannot even say that he is dead,” she said. “Rather than abducting him and making me live in misery, I wonder why the army did not kill both of us.”
She is a relative of one among the 848 citizens, whom the state “disappeared” since the Maoists launched an armed conflict a decade ago. The exact number of the total “disappeared” is yet to come because the state never comes up with the data. It is difficult for the public to report about such incidents.
Speaking at the programme organised by the Association of Families of Disappeared People by State here today, a number victims’ families said they won’t go home unless the government makes the whereabouts of the disappeared public.
Mandira Sharma, executive director, Advocacy Forum Nepal, said the present legal provision does not recognise the state’s disappearing the civilians as a crime, which creates problem in finding solution to the problem.
“Any institution which is found involved in disappearing somebody, should be termed criminal and the act should be called as severe a crime as murder.”
Martin’s message
KATHMANDU: In a message to the victims’ families, Ian Martin, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, said: “The disappearance of persons by the State is a continuing human rights violation that does not end until the person’s fate is finally determined. This is one of the most serious violations because, as all of you unfortunately have come to know, it means family members endure agonising periods of uncertainly, sometimes years, before the fate of their beloved ones is known.”
“With UN secretary-general’s support, we will continue to work for clarification of cases of disappearance in Nepal.”