District Attorney Office, Rautahat registered FIR against 6 Police Personnel on Bijaya Mahara Case

9 September 2020: After multiple attempts, the District Attorney Office, Gaur Rautahat registered the FIR against 6 Police Personnel for their involvement in alleged torture and death of Bijaya Mahara, a 19-year-old Dalit boy from Garuda Rautahat. District Police Office (DPO) Rautahat refused to register the FIR on 8 September 2020, for the second time in a  row. Bijay Mahara was arrested on 15 August 2020, as a suspect in the murder of Niranjan Ram, a 17-year-old boy working in a local nursery. Following the refusal from the DPO to register the FIR, the victim’s father, Panilal Mahara moved to the District Attorney’s Office, requesting to order the DPO to register the FIR and initiate the investigation. The FIR has been filed against 6 police Personnel, including the Superintendent of Police (SP) Rabiraj Khadka and In-charge  and the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gyan Kumar Mahato including others.

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Child Correction Homes Facing Problems; Overcrowding and Lack of Infrastructure Among Many

2 September 2020: As the whole country is confronting with the crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the child correction home in Banke is likely to turn into hotspots of the COVID-19 outbreak due to overcrowding and insufficient amenities that are essential for decent living. The total holding capacity of the facility is 70 but the correction home is housing 109 children at the moment. Children are compelled to cram into available space, making the spread of Covid-19 inevitable.

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COVID-19 cases Increasing among the Detainees in Rupandehi

28 August, Kathmandu: Following the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in various major cities of Rupandehi, including Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City and Siddhartha Municipality, there is a rise in the number of detainees being infected as well. As per Rupandehi Department of Health Service, the total tally of the cases of COVID-19 has reached to 760 in Rupandehi while 346 infected have already recovered and the death toll stands at 6 till 27 August 2020.

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COVID-19 Infected Pregnant Woman denied Treatment in Rupandehi; Women HRDs Submitted A Memorandum

COVID-19 Infected Pregnant Woman denied Treatment in Rupandehi; Women HRDs Submitted A Memorandum

Kathmandu, 28 August 2020: After receiving the public grievances regarding the denial of  treatment of a pregnant woman infected with Covid-19 by provincial as well as other hospitals in Province 5, a team of more than 12 women human rights defenders from Rupandehi, led by advocate Indira Acharya of Advocacy Forum-Nepal submitted a memorandum to the Social Development Minister, Sudarshan Baral on 20 August 2020. Stating that lack of attention from the Provincial Government regarding emergency services including delivery service for pregnant women, is indeed disgraceful to all women. The team urged Minister Baral to arrange such services within 24 hours. Accepting the Memorandum, Minister Baral stated that it is not possible to arrange the services within 24 hours as the pregnant woman infected with Covid-19 may need to undergo surgery which as per the Protocol related to Covid-19 requires higher level services and such services can be mandated by the Central Government only. He further clarified that Provincial Government requires permission from the Central Government to resume such services, making it time-consuming at present. However, he assured that the Provincial Government is serious about this issue and will regulate the services to avoid any immediate problems regarding the treatment.

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Case Updates

Emblematic Cases

Among the hundreds of cases documented, Advocacy Forum has selected altogether 15 representative cases that show an endemic pattern of obstruction of justice, brazen abuse or total disregard of the law and deliberate attempts to escape accountability. The cases are also selected on the basis of their availability of evidence and wider public appeal. AF launches campaigns with other national and international organizations to establish accountability in those cases with a view to opening the door of justice to thousands of other similar cases.
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First Information Reports

First Information Report (FIR) is a formal complaint lodged with the police or District Administration Office by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf.  As per the existing legal system in Nepal, victims or their representatives do not have direct access to the courts. In criminal cases, police have exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and process evidence to the public prosecutors who then register the cases in court. However, the police authorities not only dillydally to register FIRs but also fail to carry out effective investigations. AF has been helping victims and their families to file FIRs and seeking mandamus orders for the effective investigations on the cases.
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Human Rights Committee Submissions

Advocacy Forum is the first organization in Nepal to use individual complaint mechanism under the First Optional Protocol of International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). According to the said protocol, individuals, whose countries are party to the ICCPR and the protocol, who claim their rights guaranteed by the ICCPR have been breached, and who have exhausted existing domestic legal remedies in the pursuit of justice, can submit written communications to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC). This particular effort of AF has opened the space of Nepali lawyers to international litigation.
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Torture Compensation Cases

Advocacy Forum legally intervenes on behalf of detainees who claimed to have been tortured by police and forest officers in government detention facilities. Upon consent by victims, AF attorneys register suits, and represent victims in court seeking for torture compensation under the Torture Compensation Act -1996 and necessary action against the perpetrators.
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Case Communication

Advocacy Forum reports urgent cases of human rights violations to UN-OHCHR, AHRC and to some specific organizations such as Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission, OMCT, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, diplomatic communities, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution and the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. These international organizations/bodies give due importance to our communications and have been regularly issuing urgent appeals to pressure the concerned authorities and the government. AF also regularly reports cases to Human Rights Cell of Nepal Police, Office of Attorney General and National Human Rights Commission requesting investigation and necessary action against the perpetrators and timely redress to victims.

Setting the Precedents

Important judicial rulings by courts in the cases represented by AF on behalf of victims have been instrumental in establishing case law in Nepal. The efforts of AF have been immensely important in setting standards vis-à-vis the cases of human rights violations and ensuring fair trial standards in Nepal and thereby creating a solid body of jurisprudence.  AF also files Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking various directive orders for the implementation of existing legal provisions and challenging those provisions that expressly contradict with the accepted international standards.

Capacity Building Measures

AF has developed a comprehensive framework to strengthen capacities of its staffers, stakeholders, institutions, communities and target groups for the effective realization of its vision, mission and goals. The framework is set at the systemic, institutional and individual levels.  Key areas that require capacity building are identified as per the needs of relevant stakeholders or when AF feels necessary during the implementation of its various activities. AF is also committed to increasing its functionality by supplementing the expertise of staff wherever possible, both by educational workshops and by exposure to the international human rights community.

Advocacy and Lobbying

Advocacy Forum works to influence the Nepali government's policies and laws by holding regular lobby meetings with lawmakers, officials from ministries concerned, members of the civil society and other relevant stakeholders. Via various activities, campaigns and submissions, it also tries to lobby both national and international bodies to ensure human rights are upheld. It has also been continuously seeking to establish strong lines of communication and effective working partnerships with the international and domestic human rights community. AF recognizes the necessity of international co-operation in overturning the culture of impunity that sustains a climate conducive to human rights abuse in Nepal.