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Nepal to take action against sexual violence

The Human Rights Commission urges Nepal to punish the perpetrators of sexual crimes committed during the country's decade-long civil war.

world Updated: Jun 25, 2008 11:21 IST

Days after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at ending sexual violence in situations of conflict, the Human Rights Commission has urged Nepal to punish the perpetrators of sexual crimes committed during the country's decade-long civil war.

"This resolution has important implications for Nepal, where the full extent and impact of sexual violence during the decade-long conflict is not yet known and where the government is in the process of designing transitional justice mechanisms," the office said in a statement.

The call made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-N) demands that all parties immediately stop sexual violence against civilians and begin taking measures, from the training of troops and upholding of military discipline procedures to protect women and girls.

The resolution also adds that sexual violence crimes should be excluded from amnesty reached at the end of conflicts and calls on States to also strengthen their judicial and health-care systems to provide better assistance to victims of violence.

"The authorities have often been reluctant to pursue investigations, or even to accept the lodging of a first information report (FIR), particularly in cases where security force personnel are implicated," the Office stated.

As such, the Council's resolution "serves as a timely reminder to the Government of Nepal to include the issue of sexual violence when establishing the framework of mechanisms to deliver transitional justice," it added.

The authorities are "encouraged" to protect and promote the rights of women and increase support for victims of sexual violence, as well as make greater efforts to change the attitudes in society that result in stigmatization of victims.

An estimated 13,000 people lost their lives in the country's civil war which ended with the signing of a peace accord between the Government and Maoist rebels in 2006.