Two years after deadly rioting UN awaits inquiry by Nepalese authorities

17 September 2009The United Nations said today it is still waiting for thorough and impartial investigations into deadly rioting that broke out two years ago in the Nepalese district of Kapilvastu, which killed 14 people and displaced thousands. “It is to the credit of the Kapilvastu community itself and others neighbouring, with the support of human rights defenders, that they have taken responsibility to improve communal understanding and harmony,” said Richard Bennett, Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal.“Two years after the incidents, it is beyond time for the Government to match that effort by taking genuine steps to hold the perpetrators of the violence accountable.” The killing of local landowner Mohit Khan on 16 September 2007 ignited widespread unrest in and around the district of Kapilvastu, killing 14 people, causing extensive destruction and looting of property as well as the displacement of several thousand people. In February 2009 OHCHR published a report on its investigations into the incidents and made detailed recommendations to the Government, including that thorough and impartial criminal investigations must be conducted.In a news release issued today in Kathmandu, the Office said it stands by those recommendations, and also pointed out that the report submitted in January 2008 by a Government formed judicial commission examining the violence has still not been made public.“Victims and the families of those killed continue to express concern for their security and to demand that the perpetrators of the violence be held accountable,” OHCHR stated.“Unfortunately, the police have yet to properly investigate the crimes committed during the outbreak of violence, in particular investigations into the killings,” it added, noting that, in many cases, the perpetrators have been identified by community members. OHCHR noted that the security situation in Kapilvastu has yet to fully return to normal although determined efforts in the past year by civil society groups in the district have resulted in substantial improvements in inter-communal dialogue as well as understanding of and respect for human rights.

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