News

Sydney Centre for International Law to explore human rights in Nepal's criminal justice system



7 July 2008

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The Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) received an AusAid grant of $170,000 recently to explore human rights in Nepal's criminal justice system.

The project is entitled Safeguarding Human Rights in the Criminal Justice System in Nepal, and is in conjunction with Kathmandu School of Law.

The project runs for one year and will be administered by the Research Institute for Asia-Pacific (RIAP).

"The objective of the project is to improve understanding and knowledge of, and respect for, Nepal's human rights law obligations amongst key actors in the criminal justice system in Nepal, including Police and Prosecutors" said the Director of SCIL, Dr. Ben Saul.

"The objective will be achieved by reviewing legal education in Nepal on human rights in the criminal justice system and formulating and disseminating a model curriculum and training Nepalese police and prosecutors on human rights in the criminal justice system."

The project aims to improve awareness of avenues of accountability for violations which do occur; enhance public confidence in the justice system; and strengthen the effective functioning of the justice system in accordance with international legal standards.

Further, It will also enhance the capacity of Kathmandu School of Law (KSL) to further contribute to law and justice reform initiatives in Nepal, by equipping KSL staff with new skills, insights and legal materials concerning human rights education and training in Nepal.

"We hope the project will have long-term and direct benefits for law and justice reform in Nepal," said Dr. Saul.

"Iinsurgency and associated lawlessness have seriously undermined the criminal justice system in Nepal.

"Despite strong, formal legal protections for human rights in the justice system, there are still serious institutional weaknesses, such as reliance on forced confessions, inhumane treatment in detention, sexual harassment by police, prolonged delays, lack of impartial investigations, lack of access to lawyers, and unfair trials.

"This has a particularly adverse impact on marginalised groups such as dalits, the poor, women, the disabled and minorities.

"This activity hopes to strengthen the effective functioning of the justice system to address these weaknesses and have real impacts on the reduction of human rights abuses in Nepal .

"Further, it will address the culture of impunity for serious violations of human rights, including enforced disappearances, State-sanctioned killings and torture"

Nepalese people are amongst the world's poorest, with Nepal ranking 142 of 177 in UNDP's Human Development Index.

The Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) at the Sydney Law School was established in 2003 as a centre of excellence in research and teaching in international law.


Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 261b36304507271c1911201e45360f2811431e3c4813010060332d