The Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons has started tallying details of the complaints received with the information related to the cases registered with various state authorities.
The commission has already received over two dozen case files from the National Human Rights Commission, the district administration and the district police offices.
The commission had approached the NHRC, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, the police and local administration for information related to the complaints received from victims of the Maoist insurgency.
The NHRC has forwarded 28 dossiers, while six district administration and four district police offices have forwarded a dozen case files to the commission.
According to the NHRC, it has received requests for 102 cases related to the conflict. “We provide the CIEDP with a copy of individual case file, only if the victims in their complaints have specifically sought information from us to be considered for investigation,” said NHRC Secretary Bed Prasad Bhattarai. “Besides, we do not share any information, which may pose a threat to the witness.”
Verification is important also because the number of disappearances varies. The commission wants to establish the exact number of incidents occurring during the decade-long insurgency to start off investigation.
The commission has received 2,917 complaints, while the Peace Ministry, which provided compensation for the conflict victims, has maintained a record of 1,475 disappeared persons. The NHRC has recorded around 900 cases.
An updated report of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Nepal Red Cross Society has put the number of missing persons at 1,334.
According to Mallick, there might be repetition of cases, while some of them may not be related to the conflict. “Once we get details of the cases, we will decide whether the complaints will be shelved,” said Mallick.
The commission, formed to investigate into conflict-era cases and recommend action against rights violations, has less than three months of its mandate to complete its task. The commission has completed only the first screening of the cases so far.
The commission blames a lack of laws and logistics for the delayed probe, while the victims have doubts over the government’s willingness to move the process forward.
“Assurance is all we have been receiving,” said Ram Kumar Bhandari, president of the National Network of Families of Disappeared and Missing. “We want delivery on their promises.”