IMPUNITY WATCH: Enforced disappearance of Tej Bahadur Bhandari in December 2001, a cased lodged at Human Rights Committee, Geneva

In December 2001, TRIAL lodged an application before the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of Ram Bhandari concerning the enforced disappearance of his father Tej Bhandari in December 2001. The enforced disappearance of Tej Bhandari is part of the context of a state of emergency that was declared by the Nepalese government in November 2001.

On 27 December 2001, while her husband was away, Ms. Bhandari was visited by a group of policemen and army personnel who were looking for Mr. Bhandari. They threatened her and warned that her husband had to report back to the Chief District Officer (CDO) on the day after for an enquiry.

On the following day, Mr. Bhandari followed the instructions given and headed to the CDO’s office. The officer in charge there asked him to come again on the following Monday, adding that nothing would happen to him. Two days later, Mr. Bhandari thus boarded the bus to Besisahar with the intention to go to the CDO’s office again.

Upon arrival at the bus station, a group of men in uniform was waiting for him. They immediately arrested him, without giving any reason, then beat him on the street in front of travelers and bystanders. As Mr. Bhandari lay unconscious, one of the men tied his hands behind his back and blindfolded him. Then he was pushed in a police van and taken away to an unknown destination.

His relatives, especially his spouse and his son, took numerous steps in order to find him. In the days following the arrest, they met with the competent authorities, which first claimed that they had never arrested Mr. Bhandari, before later admitting that an investigation about him was ongoing. His family waited in vain for his release.

One month after the arrest, the victim’s son sent an application to the National Human Rights Commission in Nepal to have the truth established about the reasons and circumstances of his father disappearance. After having received from the authorities information that was in sheer contradiction with witnesses’ statements he had gathered, Mr. Tej Bhandari’s son submitted the case twice to the Supreme Court of Nepal. The first attempt was quashed while the second is still pending in front of the Court.

The police has constantly refused to register Mr. Ram Bhandari’s complaint and to open an investigation. Furthermore, Mr. Ram Bhandari was subjected to threats and pressure from high level officers of the army who wanted to stop his activism.

TRIAL thus submitted an individual communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee asking it:

to recognise that Nepal violated numerous articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights subsequently to Mr. Bhandari’s enforced disappearance;

to require an independent inquiry in order to precisely locate the place of his Mr. Bhandari’s remains;

to ask Nepal to prosecute the people responsible for Mr. Bhandari’s disappearance;

to declare that Nepal also violated the Covenant with regard to the suffering caused by Mr. Bhandari’s family owing to his disappearance;

to require that Nepal offers integral, prompt, just and adequate reparation for the suffering and the loss due to Mr. Bhandari’s disappearance;

and to ask Nepal to provide the necessary guarantees for the non-repetition of similar acts to those suffered by Mr. Bhandari and his family’s safety during the course of the procedure.

General Context

The enforced disappearance of Mr. Tej Bhandari is part of the context of a state of emergency that was declared by the Nepalese government in November 2001. The state of emergency allowed the State to increase its repression against persons who were suspected of helping the Maoist insurgents and to derogate from fundamental rights and liberties. The recourse to enforced disappearances, torture, summary executions and arbitrary detentions by State agents and Maoists was generalised during this period.


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