The APT advocates for torture prevention in Nepal
From 26 to 30 March, the APT was in Nepal to promote the accession and implementation of the OPCAT and to explore avenues for further engagement with the government and civil society. During the visit, the authorities and civil society showed commitment to improving measures and mechanisms to prevent torture. These include a possible new law to criminalise torture, the imminent ratification of the OPCAT and judicial reform.
During the mission, national actors also described initiatives in which the APT could assist them. These include the Torture Compensation Act, which was enacted in 1996 and which is said to have serious flaws, and is being re-drafted to ensure its full compliance with the Convention against Torture. The new anti-torture law is expected to criminalize torture, something that UN human rights bodies and international NGOs have been calling for over the years. The APT offered to provide technical advice on the draft before its submission to Parliament.
In Nepal, the institutions visiting places of detention include the NHRC, OHCHR, ICRC, as well as the Nepal Bar Association and NGOs such as Advocacy Forum. The latter have developed extensive experience in this field. The APT offered to train national visiting bodies on visits methodologies. This will be important when policymakers begin designing a National Preventive Mechanism under the OPCAT.
This visit marks the beginning of the operations of the APT’s new Asia-Pacific programme. The APT looks forward to seeing Nepal among the first Asian States to adhere to the OPCAT, thus paving the way for other countries in the region to follow suit. The APT and its national partners will follow up the government’s promise to consider ratification.
Background Paper: The prevention of torture in Nepal: a view from the APT