Maintaining that the draft bill on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) violated international law, three international human rights bodies on Thursday called on Nepal's legislators to reject it.

Issuing a joint statement, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists criticised the bill, saying its provisions did not abide by a January 2 directive of Nepal’s Supreme Court.

Focus on reconciliation

The bill, introduced in the Parliament on April 9, has attracted both support and opposition within Nepal. The opponents contend that its provisions violate the Supreme Court’s several directives on conflict-era cases as well as international human rights laws and norms. Those supporting the bill argue that this would help heal the wounds of the decade-long Maoist conflict and promote reconciliation.

The draft TRC provisions lay emphasis on ‘melmilap’ (reconciliation), a provision fiercely challenged by conflict-era survivors and victims; as well as human rights activists in Nepal. The three international human rights bodies said the bill retained language from a 2012 ordinance that permitted amnesty for even heinous crimes under international law.

Meanwhile, the UCPN (Maoist) continued to obstruct Parliament on Thursday, demanding the withdrawal of cases against 13 of its cadres in Chitwan district court. They have maintained that conflict-era cases could not be tried by regular courts.