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Government backs anti-torture bill

Activists hope legislation will bring country into line with UN conventions

Notice board at the Center of Victims of Torture in Kathmandu Notice board at the Center of Victims of Torture in Kathmandu
  • Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
  • Nepal
  • April 9, 2012
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More comprehensive legislation banning the use of torture is set to be introduced after winning government approval on April 6.

The “Torture, Degrading Treatment, Punishment and Compensation Act 2012,” which will replace a law from 1996, is in keeping with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the government says.

Though Nepal signed up for the UN convention in 1991, most of its provisions were not reflected in the old law.

A cabinet meeting paved the way for parliamentary approval which is now needed for the bill to become law.

Nepalese police have come under fire in recent years for the alleged use of torture on children while in custody.

Rights activists welcomed the news.

“The new law will include provisions for mental as well as physical abuse and raise compensation levels for victims and their families,” said Phadindra Adhikari, a senior official at the Nepal office of the Center for Victims for Torture.

“The government move will offer encouragement to many international and national rights organizations,” said Pastor Kali Rokkaya, a member of the National Human Rights Commission.

"However, introducing a law is one thing, its implementation is another,” he added.
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