Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Conflict victims get justice before the UN

December 2014, Washington DC

The United Nations has delivered landmark decisions by giving justice to three conflict-era victims in Nepal. The decisions, rendered by one of the most prominent international human rights bodies, the UN Human Rights Committee, sends a message of hope to the families of all victims of enforced disappearances and torture in the country. As widespread impunity still prevails in post-conflict Nepal, this is a very welcome decision and an encouraging step towards justice. The Geneva-based NGO TRIAL, the organization that submitted the cases in collaboration with Mr. Jit Man Basnet and Lawyers Forum for Human Rights, LAFHUR, a Nepal-based NGO, urges Nepali authorities to comply with their international obligations without delay.

On November 12 and 13, 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee made public its decisions on the enforced disappearances Jit Man Basnet, Tej Bahadur Bhandari, and Gyanendra Tripathi. Each of them was forcibly arrested, tortured and disappeared by state security forces during the 1996-2006 civil war in Nepal. The HRC has also given its verdict on Top Bahadur Basnet's case. Top Bahadur is Jitman Basnet's cousin who was harrashed, mentally tortured and threatened by the Nepal Army officials. In its decisions, the UN holds the Nepalese government responsible for their enforced disappearance and torture. It further urges the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into the cases, prosecute the culprits and grant appropriate reparations to the victims.

Basnet, a journalist and human rights lawyer, was disappeared, put in arbitrary detention at a military barracks and tortured by the Nepal army in 2004, allegedly because of his human rights activities. Due to the work of national and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, the Nepal government was pressured into releasing him after 258 days. Upon his release, under Nepal army threats to remain silent, and at great risk to his life, Mr. Basnet testified about his experience and the 29 detainees remaining alive to the National Human Rights Commission, which resulted in saving their lives.

Unfortunately, Mr. Basnet’s testimony was leaked and he was forced into exile in India where he documented his experience and those responsible in his memoir, 258 Dark Days, published in English and Nepali. Mr. Basnet was threatened and attacked in 2011 and fled to the United States where he currently resides. He was protected from 2007-2011 in Nepal by Peace Brigades International, an INGO that supports at-risk human rights defenders.

  “This is a great victory for justice and dignity and I am personally very happy that the courage, dedication and persistence of the human rights and victim’s communities have made it possible after 10 long years. This UN decision will encourage other victims to come forward with the message to the Nepali government that they must do their part to ensure perpetrators are held accountable.” Basnet commented upon hearing the decision:

The UN decisions send a clear warning to Nepali authorities, which too often dismiss the plight of victims of enforced disappearances. In the framework of the proceedings before the Committee, the Nepali authorities claimed they could not consider the cases before the transitional justice mechanisms were put in place. The UN rejected this argument and commented that it had been many years since the crimes took place and the Nepal government was responsible to take action. The UN urged the government to deliver justice to the victims and required it to report actions taken to the Committee within 180 days.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

NED official and Reagan-Fascell fellows at NED office in Washington DC

The ghosts of Bhairabnath

Kunda Dixit 
Published in Nepali Times (for original publication click here)

Every day, commuters, civil servants, and diplomats travel up and down Maharajganj, along the dusty street that is being widened. The President’s office and the Teaching Hospital are across the road.
Just over the wall inside Mohan Shumshere’s former palace is the Bhairabnath Battalion where thousands of suspected Maoists were detained, tortured, or exterminated between 2003-2005. It was a concentration camp in the heart of the city.
Lawyer and journalist Jitman Basnet, now 36, was picked up on 4 February 2004 and released on 18 October 2005, enduring 258 days of torture. He was blindfolded, hands

Immunity and impunity

Jitman Basnet

Published in Nepali Times (for original publication click here)

The end of the conflict in 2006 did not bring about an end to violence and threats of violence. In fact, the culture of impunity is so deeply embedded in Nepali society that those who seek peace and justice are themselves being threatened. This does not bode well for
peaceful elections.

धर्मका आडमा चलेका परम्परामा सुधारको खाँचो

 जितमान बस्नेत 
वासिंङटन डीसी, नेपाली पोस्ट (for original publication click here)

एक दिन साथीसँग पाहाडे हिन्दूहरुको किरीया संस्कारको खराब पक्षको बारेमा कुरा गर्दै गर्दा हाम्रा बात चाख मानेर सुनिरहेकी मेरी आमाको मुख अध्यारो भयो । एउटा भएको छोराले पनि किरीया नगर्ने भो भन्ने आमालाई लागेको हुँदो हो । तरपनि केही प्रतिकृया दिनु भएन । आमाको अगाडि के यस्तो कुरा गर्नु भनेर प्रसंग नटुंगाई कुरा रोकियो । पाप, धर्म, मुक्ति र स्वर्गसँग जोडिएको कुरा भयो यो । किरीया नगरे मृतक स्वर्ग जाँदैनन् भन्ने मानसीकताले समाजलाई गाँजेको छ । त्यसैले कालन्तरदेखि

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A broken promise

Jitman Basnet

Published in the Republica Daily (for original publication click here)
The war between the Maoists and the royal regime officially ended in 2006, but the conflict continues. The bloody ten-year war claimed thousands of lives and destroyed millions in property. Several thousand were displaced, kidnapped, tortured, and illegally detained in secret locations like military barracks, police custodies and Maoist camps during this conflict. More than 1,300 civilian

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Future of the Nepali Peace Process

On November 22, 2006, after ten years of violent conflict in Nepal, the Nepal Government and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed a peace agreement. A new constitution based on federalism, justice for conflict victims, and transformations in the old state mechanisms in the judicial, economic, social, cultural, and political sectors are major parts of the peace process, and were

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Lawyer cum editor awarded in exile

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Himalayan News Service
NEW DELHI: Good deeds are recognised not within the national boundary alone but beyond as well.

Human rights lawyer and Editor of Sagarmatha Times, Jitman Basnet has won Global Citizen Karamveer Puraskar, which is awarded every year by India Confederation of NGOs.

The ICONGO is committed to creating a movement of socially

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Jit Man Basnet to be felicitated with the prestigious ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’

The Nepalese Human Rights Lawyer Mr. Jit Man Basnet is all set to receive an award for his commendable work in the field of social justice after having been nominated for the awards.
Jit Man Basnet will be felicitated the coveted ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’ award on the 26th of November in New Delhi at the exclusive awards function which is a part of “iCONGO’s RIGHT every WRONG conclave” a national

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Blind folded eyes and army commander

Jit Man Basnet

I had already spent three days and two nights at the Bhairabnath Battalion’s barracks. My life had become more difficult and miserable. My body was extremely vulnerable, but the torture continued. I was a journalist and lawyer, and I wondered about the extent of torture that the real Maoists received. They knew that

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Chronicling the truth


The essay form--now fancifully called literary nonfiction or creative nonfiction�has had a very distinguished history in Nepali literature. Within the genre, jail journals have come to occupy an esteemed niche. Whether it is BP Koirala writing from incarceration in Sundarijal or RK Mainali writing about jail time spent under the Panchayat system, literary-minded political activists have shed light on one of the darkest corners of our society, our detention centers and jail cells (or what pass for such), and they have shown us the brutal, and

Friday, 24 April 2009

My Tortured and Tormented Heart

Jit Man Basnet

Before my arrest, I had only been beaten up once in the 28 years of my life. I was assaulted once on 2058 Asoj (September/October 2001) by a sentry of the Maoists named Rabi of the Bamti Bhandar Village Development Committee, or VDC, in Ramechhap District on the charge

Friday, 17 April 2009

My First Friend in Army Detention

Jit Man Basnet
One of the detainees had asked to use the toilet, but the guard didn’t give him permission.
“You old man, wait for a while,” he said.
Everybody used to call him “old man.” His body was swollen. He had to urinate every half an hour. He hadn’t seen sunlight for many days. I realised that his body was swollen due to the extreme cold as the

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

" सरदारले उनको मुखमा पीसाब फेर्यो "

द्वन्द कालमा घटेका कतिपय घटना, आजभोलि सुन्दा जीउनै सिरिङ्ग हुन्छ । युद्द दबाउन राज्य वा सुरक्षानिकायहरुले गरेका हुन् वा बिद्रोहिले युद्दका नाममा गरेका हुन् , त्यस्ता कार्यहरुलाई कुनै पनि रुपमा जायज मान्नसकिदैन । १० बर्ष सम्म चलेको जनयुद्दको क्रममा हजारौ नेपालीले ज्यान गुमाउनु पर्यो ।

जनयुद्द सुरु भएकै महिना रुकुमको पिपल गाउँमा प्रहरिले छ जना खत्री बन्धुहरुलाई याताना दिएर निर्ममता पूर्वक मारेको थियो । यो घटना १० बर्से दोन्द्द कालमा भएका कैयन मध्यको एक हो । यस्ता घटनाले दोन्द्द घटाऊने भन्दा पनि बढाउने काम गर्‍यो । कन्हैयासिंह नामका प्रहरीको कमान्डमा घटेको त्यो घटनाले त्यो बेलामा राज्य दमनको अवस्था कस्तो थियो भनेर अनुमान लगाउन सकिन्छ । कन्हैयासिंह एक प्रहरीका कनिस्ठ अधिकारी थिए । २०५२ साल फागुन १५ गते रुकुमको पीपल गाउँ विकास समितिको मेलगैरीमा गोठमा सुतिरहेका किसान र विद्यार्थीको निर्ममतापूर्वक हत्या गरेर चर्चामा आएका कन्हैयाले २०५६ सालसम्ममा रकुममा सयौं सोझा