#DalitLivesMatterNepal, End Impunity: Justice to the victims of Caste-based Discrimination

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and continued lockdown when the poor Nepalis are struggling to make their ends meet, Nepal is shocked by the deaths of  Dalit boys - who were the victims of caste-based discrimination in an incident at Rukum West, Karnali Province. As of 28 May 2020, the police have recovered 6 bodies of Nawaraj BK, Lokendra Sunar, Sandip BK, Ganesh Buda and Govinda Shahi from Bheri Municipality and Tikaram Sunar from Chaurjahari Municipality. 

This is a heinous crime committed against humanity. It is a clear violation of human rights. It is unfortunate that we are forced to reiterate that Dalits are equal citizens of the country, and remind the State’s duty to protect their rights. This outrageous incident against humanity rooted in caste prejudice and stigma since ages exemplify a persistent dehumanization of the Dalit community in Nepal.

The Constitution of Nepal has clearly institutionalized the rights against caste-based discrimination and untouchability as a fundamental human right as declared Nepal a nation free of caste-based discrimination and untouchability.  The incident violates the rule of law and the international principles of human rights ratified and enshrined in the laws of the land. 

#DalitLivesMatterNepal - an independent movement born in the backdrop of the Rukum West incident condemns this inhumane incident and urges the relevant national authorities and the international human rights community to conduct an impartial investigation of the incident. Thus, #DalitLivesMatterNepal decries these cruel human rights abuses against the Dalit community and demands justice, maintenance of the rule of law, respect for human rights and most importantly, compliance to the Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability (offense & punishment) Act 2011.We demand the following:

1.The government should form a high-level investigation committee to conduct an impartial, thorough, and transparent investigation of the incident.

2.The perpetrators should be subjected to the maximum punishment under the prevailing law of the land.

3.The police should conduct a fair and impartial investigation to hold all the culprits accountable to this premeditated crime without being susceptible to political and economic pressure and other forms of coercion.

4.Since the victim’s family is bound to live in constant fear, a full protection mechanism for the family should be guaranteed.

5.Search and rescue efforts should be speed up for the missing persons during the incident.

The victory of this petition will bring justice to the victims and affected families. The perpetrators will serve justice according to the prevailing laws. Result will be established as a precedent in the future influencing the state party to ensure effective implementation of the existing laws ultimately contributing to end impunity and Caste-based Discrimination.