Nepal responsible for torture, rape and killing of teenage girl: UN rights committee
Cristina Nicoleta Niculae
Nepal and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) said that authorities in Nepal must extensively investigate the torture, rape and execution of a 16-year old girl by security forces on February 2004 during the civil war. UNHRC Committee member Hélène Tigroudja said:
“The gravity of this case has not faded with time even though 18 years have passed. This is a particularly severe case in which a child was summarily executed. It also underscores the pattern of abuse and rape of girls during the civil war, the lack of investigation and de facto impunity”.
Nepal’s civil war began in February 1996 and lasted more than a decade, being characterised by a fighting between government forces and the Communist Party of Nepal, also known as the Maoist rebel group. In February 2004, the victim, identified as R.R., was living with her family in the village of Pokhari Chauri in Kavre District, which happened to be an area where many Maoists had gathered to celebrate the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the war.
According to the UN Committee, R.R. had participated in the compulsory Maoist Student Union at school without being involved in other Maoist activities. However, on the night of 13 February, R.R. was accused of being a Maoist by 20 uniformed armed soldiers who stormed her house. She was forcefully taken outside, interrogated, hit with a rifle, thrown against a wall, and taken to a cornfield. A soldier was heard ordering another to kill her, which was shortly followed by the sound of three gunshots being fired. Two other villagers were killed by the army that night. R.R.’s parents found her body the next morning, with visible gun wounds to the eye, head and chest. Her trousers were pulled down to mid-thigh, and her blouse was lifted up to her neck, with scratches on her breasts, indicating sexual assault.
R.R.’s family filed complaints and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in 2005 found that R.R. was killed by security forces. Despite Nepal’s Supreme Court’s endorsement to NHRC’s findings and order for prompt investigation in 2009, the main suspect was acquitted in 2013 and no one has been held criminally accountable to date.
After being brought the case of R.R by her parents, the UNHRC found that Nepal was responsible for her killing and rape, and for subjecting her to physical and mental torture. Ms. Tigroudja adds:
“Nepal has failed to demonstrate how a 16-year-old unarmed girl posed any threat to a squad of twenty fully armed soldiers, much less justify how her rape and summary execution could serve any legitimate security aim. Such egregious crimes shall in all instances be timely and thoroughly investigated and their perpetrators, whoever they are, brought to justice and punished.”
The UNHRC also criticized Nepal for their lack of providing an effective remedy for the victim’s parents.
Source and further reading:
UN News. (May 23, 2022). Nepal responsible for torture, rape and killing of teenage girl: UN rights committee. UN News. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/05/1118802