ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Torture Redress Mechanisms in Nepal and Bangladesh

A Comparative Perspective

Human rights organisations have been active in documenting widespread torture in Nepal and Bangladesh, taking very different paths towards accountability—Nepal stressing civil compensation and Bangladesh, criminal liability. Accountability in both countries, however, is limited, with the poor and marginalised, who are particularly vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment, fearful of reporting incidents and seeking justice. This paper explores the appropriation and unfolding of rights vocabularies in two distinct political, institutional and legal contexts, and suggests that human rights organisations should place protection of victims and legal assistance alongside advocacy for accountability.

This article results from research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council–Department for International Development (ESRC–DfID) joint programme on poverty alleviation, under the title “A Comparative Analysis of the Documentation of Torture and Ill-Treatment in Low-Income Countries.” The research team includes partners at DIGNITY–Danish Institute Against Torture in Denmark, Social Science Baha in Nepal, the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU) in Kenya. Neither ESRC–DfID nor any other partner institution is responsible for the views advanced here.

The authors are grateful to Steffen Jensen, Tobias Kelly and Catrine Shroff for helpful comments and suggestions during this study.

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