Nepal: Reparations to Victims Should Address Causes of Conflict and Injustice

A report issued today by the International Center for Transitional Justice, titled “Relief, Reparations, and the Root Causes of Conflict in Nepal,” calls for reparations to consider the root causes of the conflict as well as the social and economic circumstances of victims that they seek to repair.

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Nepalese students attending a construction class alongside former Maoist fighters

To be effective, reparations must be accompanied by measures that acknowledge the responsibility of the state, provide information about the disappeared and hold those responsible for the most serious crimes to account.

Kathmandu (PRWEB) October 05, 2012

State-run reparations programs intended to address the suffering of thousands of victims of Nepal’s civil war should acknowledge their loss and continued suffering, says a report released today by the International Center for Transitional Justice.

The report, titled “Relief, Reparations, and the Root Causes of Conflict in Nepal,” calls for reparations to consider the root causes of the conflict as well as the social and economic circumstances of victims that they seek to repair.

“To be effective, reparations programs should be implemented in tandem with measures that acknowledge the responsibility of the state, provide information about the disappeared and ensure that those responsible for the most serious crimes are held to account,” says Ruben Carranza, director of ICTJ’s Reparative Justice Program and the author of the report.

The report examines the measures taken in Nepal to redress victims following the 2006 peace agreement, which formally ended the ten-year civil war between the government and Maoist rebels. It looks closely at the Interim Relief Program (IRP) — a compensation scheme instituted in 2008 to provide material benefits to approximately 30.000 survivors and relatives of the killed and disappeared, who are categorized as “conflict victims,” and approximately 80.000 internally displaced people.

Although the report welcomes the inclusion of two important categories of victims — those who were killed and those who were forcibly disappeared - it identifies a number of flaws that make the IPR fall short of international standards defined in the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on a Right to Remedy and Reparations. “None of the benefits in the IRP were accompanied by material or symbolic measures that explicitly acknowledge the loss and continued suffering of victims and their families — particularly families of the forcibly disappeared,” states the report.

“Relief is not a substitute for reparations,” says Lucia Withers, head of ICTJ’s office in Nepal. “Relief provides immediate material help for victims but does not significantly address the long-term consequences of violations — such as the permanent, long-term economic loss resulting from the killing, disappearance and disability of victims.”

As the debate around the proposed ordinance on the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission in Nepal continues, the report makes it clear that the right to reparations should not be dependent on victims’ agreeing to reconcile with perpetrators or concurring with the granting of amnesties.

“The right to reparations is not dependent on the establishment of a truth commission or on the prosecution of perpetrators of violations; but reparations programs are likely to be more effective if these measures are in place,” concluded Carranza.

About ICTJ

The International Center for Transitional Justice works to redress and prevent the most severe violations of human rights by confronting legacies of mass abuse. ICTJ seeks holistic solutions to promote accountability and create just and peaceful societies. For more information, visit http://www.ictj.org.

Contact

Kathmandu: Lucia Withers, Head of Office
E-mail: lwithers(at)ictj(dot)org
Phone: + 977 9851108352

New York: Refik Hodzic, Director of Communications
E-mail: rhodzic(at)ictj(dot)org
Phone: +1 917 975 2286


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