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(Jun 05, 2009) It was reported on May 23, 2009, that the Supreme Court of Nepal has ordered the government to formulate legislation that would define torture as a criminal activity. According to the Court, "most of the tortures are meted out by security forces." (Nepal Press Selection List 23 May 09 NEPAL SAMACHARPATRA, Dialog online subscription database, Accession No. 28135025 [search using "Nepal" and "torture"]).

Nepal adopted the Compensation Relating to Torture Act, 1996 and the Human Rights Commission Act, 1997, to enhance the country's implementation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. (United Nations Committee Against Torture, Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture: Nepal, CAT/C/NPL/CO/2, Dec. 15, 2005, available at Nepal acceded to the Convention on May 14, 1991; the agreement entered into force for Nepal on June 13, 1991. (Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, UNITED NATIONS TREATY COLLECTION, (last visited June 3, 2009).)

Various human rights groups have noted ongoing instances of the practice of torture in Nepal, however. According to the "Nepal" report in the U.S. Department of State (DOS) publication 2008 COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES:

Although torture is prohibited in the Interim Constitution of 2007, the law does not clearly criminalize torture. The Torture Compensation Act (TCA) provides for compensation to victims of torture; however, the victim must file a complaint and pursue the case through the courts, while alleged perpetrators are defended by the Attorney General's Department.

(Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2008 Human Rights Report: Nepal, DOS website, Feb. 25, 2009, available at Moreover, of 3,731 detainees interviewed by the human rights group Advocacy Forum-Nepal (AF) in 15 districts throughout the country, "1,228 claimed they were tortured. Citizens were afraid to bring cases against the police for fear of reprisals." A November 2008 Human Rights Watch report contended "there were more than 200 cases during the year of torture or abuse in police custody of boys and girls as young as 13," and Maoists allegedly committed 141 acts of torture according to AF. (Id.; see also Nepal: End Torture of Children in Police Custody, Human Rights Watch website, Nov. 18, 2008, available at
; Advocacy Forum-Nepal website, (last visited June 3, 2009).)

Even more recently, it was reported by the National Human Rights Commission's regional office in Kaski District in western Nepal that the district's police offices "are torture chambers as physical torture is widely used here to force suspects into making confessions." (Nepal Press Selection List 29 May 09: NEPAL SAMACHARPATRA [item 3], DIALOG online subscription database, Accession Number 281350251 [search using "Nepal" and "torture"].)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Crime and law enforcement More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Nepal More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 06/05/2009