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Nepal - Rule of Law Program

Criminal Law Reform and Anti-Human Trafficking

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) implements a police accountability program, which seeks to foster accountability for human rights abuses in the Terai region of Nepal. The program cultivates a cadre of well-trained human rights defenders that are capable of accurately and reliably identifying and documenting human rights abuses. In addition, ABA ROLI conducts trainings for doctors and other medical professionals on how to identify, gather and document medical evidence of torture. ABA ROLI also partners with other Terai-based defenders to address human rights abuses and to support the development of a culture of accountability and transparency.

To promote a strong civil society, we partner with experienced lawyers and work to develop the capacity of human rights groups.

Building forensic capacity

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) worked with local governmental and non-governmental institutions to enhance their capacity to collect ante mortem data, to conduct exhumations and forensic analyses and to increase the availability, accuracy and admissibility of criminal evidence to help combat impunity for major human rights violations, including forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. This comprehensive program featured activities designed to educate communities affected by gross human rights violations about their rights and legal remedies. It also informed them about the importance of forensic evidence in establishing accountability and elicited their cooperation in identifying burial sites and sharing their testimonies. Program activities, including trainings and consultancies by ABA ROLI pro bono experts, were aimed at boosting the technical competency of institutions to conduct forensic evaluations and preserve, compile and prepare reliable DNA evidence and to enhance the capacity of justice sector personnel to use DNA evidence to pursue legal claims against perpetrators of human rights abuses.

The program, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, drew on the specialized skills of a leading Nepali human rights non-governmental organization, Advocacy Forum, the National Human Rights Commission, the National Forensic Science Laboratory and an internationally recognized forensic anthropology organization.

Combating women trafficking

Through a program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) addressed the growing problem of women’s trafficking in Nepal. The program targeted women’s trafficking from three angles: raising the awareness of potential victims and empowering them, improving the quality of criminal investigations by building the competence of key anti-human trafficking institutions and facilitating better systemic coordination between governmental and civil society stakeholders. Each component of this innovative two-year program filled discrete gaps. The program sought to decrease the incidence of women’s trafficking while improving investigative effectiveness, heightening the quality and utility of statistical data on women’s trafficking and increasing prosecutions and convictions.

The program was being implemented in collaboration with several Nepali organizations, including the Forum for Women, Law and Development, a leading women’s legal advocacy non-governmental organization; the National Human Rights Commission, a quasi-independent body chartered to investigate apparent or alleged human rights violations; and the Kathmandu School of Law.