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Sharmila Tripathi v. Nepal

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Court/Judicial body:
OHCHR – Human Rights Committee

Communication No. 2111/2011

29 October 2014

Instrument(s) cited:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: articles 6 (Right to life); 7 (Freedom from torture); 9, paragraphs 1–4 (Right to liberty and security of persons); 10, paragraph 1 (Rights of persons deprived of their liberty); 16 (Right to recognition as a person before law) and 22 (Freedom of association with others)

Case summary

Ms. Tripathi complained on her own behalf and that of her husband Gyanendra Tripathi and their minor daughter C.T. They are Nepalese nationals.

As a result of the armed conflict prevailing in the country, the State party authorities declared a state of emergency from November 2001. The author’s husband has disappeared in that context. Ms. Tripathi stated that although there were no eye-witnesses to the precise moment of her husband’s arrest, there were strong reasons to believe that he had been arbitrarily arrested, kept in the Maharajgunj barracks and forcibly disappeared by State agents. In view of testimonies and other concurrent evidence from different reliable sources, it was reasonable to presume that he was killed by members of the Army. His arbitrary deprivation of liberty took place within the context of massive arrests, enforced disappearances and torture of persons suspected of being Maoists.

Ms. Tripathi claimed that the State party has violated Mr. her husband’s rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. She also claimed that the State party has violated her rights under and her minor daughter’s rights. She explained that her daughter was one year and eight months old at the time of her father’s disappearance. As a child, she has been particularly affected, since she has had to grow up without being able to enjoy a family life and experiencing the ongoing anguish of not knowing where her father was and whether he will come back.

The Human rights Committee noted the anguish and distress caused to the Ms. Tripathi and her minor daughter by the disappearance of Mr. Tripathi; they had never received an adequate explanation of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Although reliable evidence suggested that the chances of finding her husband alive are minimal, no investigation had been carried out to ascertain his fate and, in case of his death, to return his bodily remains to his family. The Committee found a violation of article 7 of the Covenant with regard to Ms. Tripathiand her daughter. Having reached that conclusion the Committee did not examine the claims regarding the violation of article 24, paragraph 1, of the Covenant concerning the minor C.T (Paragraph 7.5).

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This case summary is provided by the Child Rights International Network for education and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.