Nepal war-time rape victims suffer in fear, need justice: HRW
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Eight years after Nepal's civil war ended, hundreds of victims of war-time rape still live in fear with no access to justice, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.
Nepal, wedged between China and India, is recovering from the decade-long conflict between Maoist rebels and government forces in which more than 18,000 people were killed, thousands wounded and hundreds went missing.
Human rights activists say both security forces and rebels committed crimes against civilians such as abduction, rape, torture and murder during the conflict.
The New York-based HRW said in a report that many cases of rape remained unreported with victims isolated and unable to seek redress. It called on the government to take action to encourage women to come forward and to scrap a legal requirement that rapes be reported within 35 days.
"For more than 10 years already, these women have suffered in silence and fear while the perpetrators have walked free," said HRW South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly.
"Justice and reparations for women who suffered sexual assault is long overdue unfinished business from the civil war," Ganguly said in a statement.
Peace and Reconstruction Minister Narahari Acharya said perpetrators of crimes such as rape would not be eligible for amnesty under a planned Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
"We’ll set up the Commission soon and it will investigate all crimes including rapes committed during the conflict and bring those responsible for serious abuses to justice," Acharya told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Continued...