COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Geneva, 7 – 25 November 2005
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
1. The Committee considered the second periodic report of the Kingdom of Nepal (CAT/C/35/L/NPL) at its 669 th and 672 nd meetings (CAT/C/SR. 669 and 672), held on 9 and 10 November 2005, and adopted, at its 687 th meeting held on 22 November 2005, the following conclusions and recommendations.A. Introduction
2 The Committee welcomes the submission of the second report of the Kingdom of Nepal, and the opportunity afforded to it to resume its dialogue with the State party. The Committee appreciates the constructive dialogue established with the delegation of the State Party. However, the Committee notes that the report does not fully conform to the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of periodic reports and lacks information on practical aspects of the implementation of the Convention.
3. The Committee welcomes the additional information provided by the State party in writing to the List of Issues, and by the delegation in its introductory remarks and in the answers to the questions raised.B. Positive aspects
5. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the following legislative measures aimed at enhancing the implementation of the Convention:
a) Compensation relating to Torture Act, 1996; and
b) Human Rights Commission Act, 1997.
6. The Committee notes the establishment of a number of Human Rights coordination and monitoring mechanisms, such as:
a) National Human Rights Commission;
b) National Commission on Women and National Dalit Commission;
c) Human Rights Protection Committee and the National Coordination Committee; and
d) Human Rights cells in the Police, Armed Police Force and Royal Nepalese Army.
7. The Committee also welcomes the agreement entered into by the State Party with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 11 April 2005, which led to the establishment of an OHCHR Office in Nepal. The Committee welcomes the continued cooperation of the State party with the OHCHR Office in Nepal.
8. The Committee notes that the State party received the visit of the following Special Procedures of the Commission on Human Rights:
a) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in 1996;
b) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, in 2000;
c) Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, in 2004;
d) Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, in 2005; and
e) Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in 2005.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
Definition (article 1 and 4)
The State party should adopt domestic legislation which ensures that acts of torture, including the acts of attempt, complicity and participation, are a criminal offence punishable in a manner proportionate to the gravity of the crimes committed, and consider steps to amend the Compensation Relating to Torture Act of 1996, in compliance with all elements of the definition provided by the Convention. The State party should provide information to the Committee on domestic jurisprudence referring to the definition of torture as per article 1 of the Convention.
Widespread use of torture (article 2 and 11)
The State party should make a public condemnation of the practise of torture and take effective measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.The State party should also take all measures, as appropriate, to protect all members of society from acts of torture.
The State Party should bring the practice of preventive detention in line with international human rights norms and ensure fundamental rights of persons deprived of liberty are guaranteed, including the right to habeas corpus, the right to inform a relative, access to a lawyer and to a doctor of one’s choice. The State party should ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism is in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1566 (2004), which require, inter alia, that anti-terrorist measures be carried out with full respect of, inter alia, international human rights law, including the Convention. The State party should provide to the Committee information on the number of people still in preventive detention.
National Human Rights Commission
The State party should take the necessary measures to support the work of the National Human Rights Commission, ensuring its recommendations are fully implemented.
Independence of the judiciary
The State party should make all necessary efforts to guarantee the independence of the judiciary, including ensuring compliance by security forces with Court orders. The State party should provide to the Committee information on the composition, mandate, method of work, investigations obtained by the Royal Commission for Corruption Control, including whether it exercises a precise constitutional jurisdiction in full conformity with the requirements of the Convention and is subject to judicial review. In addition, the State party is requested to provide, as above, information on the Justice Sector Coordination Committees.
Non-refoulement (article 3)
The Committee recommends that the State party consider acceding to the 1951 Refugee Convention and other related international legal instruments. In addition, the Committee recommends that the State party enacts legislation aimed at prohibiting refoulement of persons without an appropriate legal procedure. The State party should provide to the Committee information on the number of cases of extradition, removal deportation, forced return and expulsion which have occurred since 1994, as well as information on cases in which no deportation was effected for fear of torture.
Universal jurisdiction (article 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
The State party should take the necessary measures to ensure that acts of torture become subject to universal jurisdiction under the draft Criminal Code, in accordance with article 5 of the Convention. The State party should as well make all necessary efforts to ensure compliance with articles 6 to 9 of the Convention.
Education on the prohibition against torture(article 10)
The State party should intensify its education and training efforts relating to the prohibition against torture, and introduce evaluation and monitoring mechanisms to assess their impact.
Interrogation and detention (article 11)
The State party must ensure that no recourse is made, under any circumstances by law enforcement personnel to interrogation methods prohibited by the Convention. In addition, the State party should provide to the Committee information, including examples, on measures adopted to review interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices applicable to law enforcement officials.
The State party should adopt the necessary measures to reduce pre-trial detention wherever possible.
The State party should immediately transfer all detainees to legally designated places of detention which conform to international minimum standards.
The State party should take immediate steps to ensure that all arrests and detentions are systematically documented, in particular concerning juveniles in detention. The State party should consider creating a central register for persons deprived of liberty, to be made accessible to national and international monitors.
The State party should consider amending the relevant section of the Compensation Relating to Torture Act of 1996, to ensure all detainees have access to a proper medical examination at the time of arrest and release.
The State party should prohibit the use of incommunicado detention. The Committee recommends that persons held incommunicado should be released or charged and tried under due process. The State party should provide to the Committee information on the exact numbers and location of detention places and other detention facilities used by the Royal Nepalese Army, the Armed Police Force and the Police, and the numbers of persons deprived of liberty.
The State party should take measures to ensure compliance by security forces of all orders of the Courts, including habeas corpus.
The State party should take necessary steps to protect juveniles from breaches to the Convention, and ensure a proper functioning of a juvenile justice system in compliance with international standards, differentiating treatment according to age.
Systematic review of all places of detention
The State party should consider setting up a national system to review all places of detention, and react to findings of the systematic review.
The Committee recommends that the State party consider amending the Code of Conduct for NGOs to be in line with international human rights standards on the protection of Human Rights Defenders. The State party should ensure national and international monitors are granted permission to carry out regular, independent, unannounced and unrestricted visits to all places of detention. The State party should facilitate, for example, visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross, OHCHR, NHRC, and national and international Non-Governmental Organizations.
Impunity (article 12)
The State party should send a clear and unambiguous message against torture and ill treatment to all persons and groups under its jurisdiction. The State party should take effective legislative, administrative and judicial measures to ensure that all allegations arrest without warrants, extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody and disappearances are promptly investigated, prosecuted and punished. In connection with prima facie cases of torture, the accused should be subject to suspension or reassignment during the investigation.
The State party should establish an independent body to investigate acts of torture and ill treatment committed by law enforcement personnel. The State party should provide to the Committee information on the mandate, role, composition and jurisprudence of the Special Police Courts.
Marginalized and disadvantaged groups or castes
The Committee reaffirms that it is the duty of the State party to protect all members of society, and in particular citizens belonging to marginalized and disadvantaged groups or castes, such as the Dalits. The State party should undertake specific steps to safeguard their physical integrity, ensure that accountability mechanisms are in place guaranteeing that caste is not used as a basis for abuses, unlawful detention and torture and take steps to ensure more diverse caste and ethnic representation in its police and security forces. The State party should include information on caste discrimination in its next periodic report.
The State party should ensure that procedures are in place to monitor the behaviour of law enforcement officials and promptly and impartially investigate all allegations of torture and ill treatment, including sexual violence, with a view to prosecuting those responsible. The State party should provide to the Committee a list of investigated, prosecuted and punished cases of gender-based violence and abuse against women and children in custody.
Right to complaint (article 13)
The State party should make available to victims of torture the conclusions of any independent enquiry in order to assist them pursuing compensation claims. The State party should amend its current and planned legislation as to have no statute of limitation for complaints against acts of torture, and to have the period of limitation in respect of actions for compensation to be no less than 2 years from the date of availability of the conclusions of enquiries.
The State party should consider adopting witness protection legislative and administrative measures, ensuring that all persons reporting acts of torture or ill treatment are adequately protected.
Compensation to torture victims (article 14)
The State party should ensure that compensation awarded by Courts or decided upon by the National Human Rights Commission is paid in a timely manner. The State party should provide to the Committee information onthe total amount paid in compensations to victims of torture.
Use of statements as a result of torture (article 15)
The State party should provide to the Committee information on both legislation and jurisprudence that exclude statements as evidence obtained as a result of torture.
Ill-treatment (article 16)
The Committee recommends that the State party make all necessary measures to improve conditions of detention.
The State party should reinforce international cooperation mechanisms to fight trafficking in persons, prosecute perpetrators and provide protection and redress to all victims.
Child soldiers (article 16)
The State party should take effective measures to prevent security forces using children as spies and messengers. The State party should as well take the necessary steps, as a matter of urgency and in a comprehensive manner, to prevent the abduction of children by the CPN (Maoist) and to facilitate the reintegration of former child soldiers into society. The State party should also consider ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
The State party is encouraged to disseminate widely the second periodic report submitted by the Kingdom of Nepal to the Committee, and the conclusions and recommendations, in appropriate languages, through official websites, the media and non-governmental organizations.
The Committee requests the State party to provide, within one year, information on its response to the Committee’s recommendations contained in paragraphs 14, 15, 22b, 22c, 22e, 26, 28 and 30 above.
The State party is invited to submit its next periodic report, which will be considered as the combined third, fourth and fifth report, by 12 June 2008, the due date of the fifth periodic report.