The peace agreement of four years ago has yet to bring a sigh of relief for the families of the disappeared<br>A CORRESSPONDENT

Sept. 3, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 4 No.-07 September 3-16, 2010 (Bhadra 18, 2067)

Family members have been searching for Upendra Guragain, a resident of Parbat district, for the last five years. Where he is remains unknown. He was kidnapped by Maoists at midnight in November 2006.

Like Guragain, hundreds of others disappeared and their whereabouts are unknown. Some disappeared from the government’s custody while others disappeared from the Maoists’.

On the International Day of the Disappeared (30 August), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal), urged the Government of Nepal to swiftly implement the landmark Supreme Court's decision of 1 June 2007 which has remained pending for more than three years. In June 2007, the Supreme Court ordered the Government to enact a law which would criminalize enforced disappearances in line with the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance; establish a high level commission of inquiry on disappearances in compliance with the international criteria on such commissions of inquiry; require investigations and prosecutions of persons responsible for disappearances; and provide for adequate compensation and relief to the victims and their families.

"This Day reminds me those who, year after year, at home, wait to hear about the fate of their loved ones and continue to suffer until this relief comes," said Anthony Cardon, Officer-In-Charge of OHCHR-Nepal. "Their rights as well as those of the disappeared are fully guaranteed by international human rights law and the respect and protection of these rights should be a priority in any society." Since 2005, the UN Human Rights Office in Nepal has closely witnessed the painful anguish and anger of conflict victims as well as the consequences for the society of the failure to set up transitional justice mechanisms. The Office continues to believe that clarifying the fate of the victims of enforced disappearances and other human rights and humanitarian law violations lie at the heart of the peace process.

Marking the International Day of the Disappeared, National Human Rights Commission Chairperson  Kedarnath Upadyay, through a press statement, urged the concerned parties of the past conflict  to make the status of the disappeared public as soon as possible and help bring the culprits into the framework of justice.

Even so, there is little hope that the families of the disappeared may find out the truth about their beloved people.

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