Anti-torture law before Nepalese Parliament

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

After 16 years of negotiations, the Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs has finally registered a bill to criminalise torture at the Parliament Secretariat. The APT has been providing long term support to this process and recently commented on the draft bill.

The new "Torture, Degrading Treatment, Punishment and Compensation Act 2012" defines acts that amount to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. It criminalizes torture and provides space for developing regulations for detailing compensation and witness protection. It also has provisions on exclusion of evidence obtained by torture and preventing extradition if there is a fear of torture.

Human rights activists have welcomed the news, according to media reports but Mandira Sharma, founder of Advocacy Forum Nepal, believes that there are still some provisions that are not compatible with international obligations.

"We still have problems in relation to the provision on statutory limitation, maximum penalty and investigation procedures. We will be writing to each parliamentarian where and why we have concerns on certain provisions and encourage them to work to make this Bill compatible with our international obligations", she writes in a letter to the APT.