1. The Committee considered
the initial report of Nepal (CCPR/C/74/Add.2) at its 1359th and 1363th
meetings, held on 17 and 19 October 1994, and adopted1
the following comments:1At the 1382nd
meeting, held on 2 November 1994.
2. The Committee welcomes
the initial report (CCPR/C/74/Add.2) and the core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.42)
of Nepal and expressed its appreciation to the State party for the
opening of a constructive dialogue. The Committee regrets, however,
that the information provided in the report was in many respects incomplete
and did not follow the Committee's guidelines for the preparation
of initial reports (CCPR/C/5/Rev.1). The lack of information on factors
and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Covenant prevented
the Committee from gaining a clear idea of the real human rights situation
in the country.
3. The Committee expresses
its appreciation to the State party for taking part in the dialogue
and for responding to the questions raised by members of the Committee.
The valuable information provided orally supplemented to a certain
extent the report, thereby providing a sound basis for a frank and
fruitful dialogue between the Committee and the State party. It, however,
regrets that the delegation could not include representatives of the
various Ministries concerned with the implementation of the Covenant,
in particular of the Ministry of Justice.
B. Factors and difficulties
affecting the implementation of the Covenant
4. The Committee recognizes
that Nepal is emerging from a long period of isolation, and that the
remnants of authoritarian rule have not yet been overcome. Steps remain
to be taken in engaging, consolidating and developing democratic institutions
for better implementation of the Covenant. Economic depression, extreme
poverty and widespread illiteracy constitute obstacles to the effective
implementation of the Covenant.
C. Positive aspects
5. The Committee welcomes
the efforts undertaken by the State party to establish democratic
institutions and multipartism as well as its declared commitment to
the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. It takes note,
in particular, of the adoption of a new Constitution which provides
the basis for a parliamentary system of government based on multi-party
democracy as well as for an independent Supreme Court. The right of
citizens to petition the Supreme Court to challenge laws which violate
human rights and the use of this right is particularly welcomed. The
Committee also notes with satisfaction that Nepal has recently acceded
to a number of international human rights instruments, including the
first Optional Protocol to the Covenant.
D. Principal subjects
6. The Committee notes
that the status of the Covenant within the legal system is unclear
and that the necessary steps to adopt legislative and other measures
necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant
have not yet been taken. Furthermore, a significant gap exists between
provisions of the Constitution and other legal norms on the one hand,
and their application in practice, on the other. Accordingly, there
is a need to clearly define the place of the Covenant within the Nepalese
legal system to ensure that domestic law are applied in conformity
with the provisions of the Covenant and that the latter can be invoked
before the courts and applied by the other authorities concerned.
The lack of publicity given to the provisions of the Covenant and
the Optional Protocol is also a matter of concern. Since provisions
of the Constitution seem to provide rights and freedoms to citizens
only, the Committee draws the State party's attention to its obligations
to ensure to all individuals within its jurisdiction the rights and
freedoms recognized in the Covenant.
7. The Committee notes
that the non-discrimination clauses in article 11 of the Constitution
do not cover all the grounds provided for in articles 2 and 26 of
the Covenant. It is particularly disturbed by the fact that the principle
of non-discrimination and equality of rights suffers serious violations
in practice and deplores inadequacies in the implementation of the
prohibition of the system of castes. The persistence of practices
of debt bondage, trafficking in women, child labour, and imprisonment
on the ground of inability to fulfil a contractual liability constitute
clear violations of several provisions of the Covenant.
8. The Committee expresses
its concern over the situation of women who, despite some advances,
continue to be de jure or de facto the object of discrimination
as regards marriage, inheritance, transmission of citizenship to children,
divorce, education, protection against violence, criminal justice,
and wages. The Committee is also concerned that the average life expectancy
of women is shorter than that of men. It regrets the high proportion
of women prisoners sentenced for offences resulting from unwanted
9. The Committee deplores
the lack of clarity of the legal provisions governing the introduction
and administration of a state of emergency, particularly article 115
of the Constitution, which would permit derogations contravening the
State party's obligations under article 4, paragraph 2, of the Covenant.
10. The Committee is deeply
concerned with the cases of summary and arbitrary executions, enforced
or involuntary disappearances, torture and arbitrary or unlawful detention
committed by members of the army, security or other forces during
the period under review which have been brought to its attention.
It deplores that those violations were not followed by proper inquiries
or investigations, that the perpetrators of such acts were neither
brought to justice nor punished, and that the victims or their families
were not compensated. It regrets that the draft bills against torture
and ill-treatment of the person as well as on the compensation of
victims of torture, have not yet been adopted. Moreover, the quasi
judicial authority of the Chief District Officer and the insufficient
protection of the independence of the judiciary undermines the efforts
aimed at preventing the occurrence of similar acts.
11. The Committee notes
with concern the excessive restrictions on the right to freedom of
expression and information and the restrictions which apply to the
manifestation of religion and to change of religion.
E. Suggestions and
12. The Committee recommends
that the legislative reforms presently under way in Nepal be expanded
and intensified in order to ensure that all relevant legislation be
in conformity with the Covenant. It emphasizes the need for the provisions
of the Covenant to be fully incorporated into domestic law and made
enforceable by domestic courts. Necessary steps should be taken to
give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant. The text of
the Covenant and the first Optional Protocol should be translated
into all languages spoken in Nepal, widely publicized and included
in school curricula, to ensure that the provisions of these instruments
are widely known to members of the legal profession, the judiciary
and law enforcement officials, as well as to the general public. The
legal profession and non-governmental organizations should be encouraged
to contribute to the process of reform.
13. The Committee stresses
the need to take appropriate action in order to ensure the effective
application of articles 2 and 3 of the Covenant, particularly through
the adoption of administrative and educational measures designed to
eliminate traditional practices and customs detrimental to the well-being
and status of women and vulnerable groups of the Nepalese society.
14. The Committee recommends
that appropriate information be gathered and educational measures
be taken to eradicate practices of debt bondage, trafficking in women
and child labour. Prison reforms now envisaged should be accelerated.
15. The Committee recommends
that the authorities adopt legislation to bring its domestic legal
regime into harmony with its obligations under article 4, paragraph
2, of the Covenant.
16. The Committee urges
the Government of Nepal to take all necessary measures to prevent
extra-judicial and summary executions, enforced or involuntary disappearances,
torture and degrading treatment and illegal or arbitrary detention.
The Committee recommends that all such cases be systematically investigated
in order to bring those suspected of having committed such acts before
the courts and that the victims be compensated.
17. The Committee recommends
that Nepal studies measures directed towards the abolition of the
death penalty, and give consideration to accession to the Second Optional
18. The Committee also
recommends that necessary measures be taken by the Government to give
effect to the separation of executive and judicial functions and to
ensure the full independence and proper functioning of the judiciary.
The texts of the draft bills against torture and ill-treatment of
the person as well as on compensation of victims of torture should
be brought into line with the provisions of the Covenant and adopted
as soon as possible. Specifically targeted training courses on human
rights for law enforcement officials, members of the judiciary, members
of the police and security forces should be organized.
19. The Committee calls
upon the state party to prepare its second periodic report in compliance
with the Committee's guidelines for the preparation of State party
reports (CCPR/20/Rev.1). The report should in particular include detailed
information on the specific laws applicable to each right protected
under the Covenant and the extent to which each right is enjoyed in
practice, and refer to specific factors and difficulties that might
impede its application. In undertaking this obligation, the State
party may avail itself of the Advisory Services and Technical Assistance
Programme of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights.