Sunday, March 20, 2005

"I’m sorry Mrs Sunuwar"

A tale of royal brutality

Yesterday, Nepal’s Foreign Minister, Ramesh Nath Pandey, spoke before the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.

He states how the government is fully committed to strengthen the independence of the National Human Rights Commission. Meanwhile, the government has restricted the travel of the top members of the NHRC so they cannot leave Kathmandu Valley to investigate rumours of large-scale violations in Kapilvastu.

He states how all incidents committed by security forces have been investigated and have been brought to justice. Meanwhile, a good friend of mine, who knitted me a beautiful blue and white scarf, and to whom I gave a good sweater and an electric heater, was informed recently that her daughter was killed. She had gone missing 11 months ago. Devi thought that her daughter was dead, but the uncertainty and the scrap of hope kept her in a constant state of unknowing for 11 months, until she heard the Chief of Army Staff tell her, in front of the US Ambassador to Nepal and the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations System, Louise Arbour, that her daughter was dead. I’m sorry. Mistakes happen.

Mistakes happen. Yes, mistakes happen.

But not mistakes like “I’m sorry, Mrs Sunuwar, we accidentally kicked in the door of your aunt’s house and kidknapped your daughter and your neice, because we accidentally suspected that they could perhaps be sympathizers of the Maoists or have gone to a Maoist meeting once. I’m sorry, Mrs Sunuwar, we accidentally took your neice into the woodshed and raped her for five hours while you had to stay in the house and try not to scream because we had told you we’d kill anyone who came out of the house. I’m sorry, Mrs Sunuwar, that we accidentally forgot to punish those involved even after you got the pro bono legal services of a human rights lawyer and the international backing of Human Rights Watch to write about your case because we just didn’t seem to give a shit whenever you came to our Army or Police offices. I’m sorry, Mrs Sunuwar, that we made your life a living hell, accidentally.”

Well I’m sorry, Mrs Sunuwar, that the rest of the world lets the Royal Nepalese Army under the Chief Command of a medieval King get away with atrocities, and then listens to their pandering Foreign Minister Pandey grovel and make excuses in Geneva.

I’m sorry Mrs Sunuwar.

I hope that the actions in Geneva have some relevance on the life of Mrs Sunuwar and all the others who are like her but never get the attention of the ‘international community’ even for the photo opportunities or the sickness of the ‘famous victim’ popularity contest.


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