Constitutional Provisions

The 2015 Constitution of Nepal recognises the rights to live with dignity, to liberty, and to freedom from torture. According to Article 16:

(1) Every person shall have the right to live with dignity.

(2) No law shall be made providing for the death penalty to anyone.

According to Article 17(1): "No person shall be deprived of his or her personal liberty except in accordance with law." Article 22 stipulates that: "No person who is arrested or detained shall be subjected to physical or mental torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

According to Article 17(2)(b), Every citizen shall have the freedom "to assemble peaceably and without arms".

Article 268 provides that Nepal as a federal state

shall have Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, Nepal and National Investigation Department.

(2) Each State shall have a State police organization.

(3) Matters relating to Operation, supervision and coordination of functions to be discharged by the Nepal Police and the State police shall be as provided for in the Federal law.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 State Party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 Not party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Not party

Regional Treaties

There is not yet a regional human rights treaty to which South Asian nations can adhere.

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

According to the 1955 Police Act, "The Government of Nepal shall have power to exercise supervision over and control the Police Force, and issue directives to the police; and it shall be the duty of every police employee to comply with the orders and directives of the Government of Nepal." However, the Act does not specifically address the use of force.

According to Section 6 of the 1955 Essential Goods Protection Act:

In case an offender tries to flee by using or without using any force in the course of arrest from the spot, he/she shall not be given any opportunity to run away. In case the situation demands to use any arm or ammunition, the Head Constable or officer senior to him/her from the Police Force or by the command or officer senior to him/her from Nepal Army or if it is from any other force, the command or officer of the same rank may, through their own or through their subordinate, issue order to use weapon or shoot below the knee and arrest such person. No Government employee shall be punished for the death of any person in the course of arresting him/her, as mentioned herein.

Police Oversight

Article 248 of the Constitution establishes a National Human Rights Commission. By virtue of Article 249, it "shall be the duty of the National Human Rights Commission to respect, protect and promote human rights and ensure effective enforcement thereof."

According to Section 4 of the 2001 Armed Police Force Act:

(1) Government of Nepal shall have powers to oversee, control over and provide directions to the armed police.

(3) It shall be the duty of armed police to abide by the order and direction issued by the Government of Nepal....



Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2014 Concluding Observations on Nepal, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern "at reports of unlawful killings in the Terai region, deaths in custody, and the official confirmation of the widespread use of torture and ill treatment in places of police custody." The Commitee was

deeply concerned at the failure of the State party to adopt legislation defining and criminalizing torture, and at the lack of concrete and comprehensive information on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, sanctions imposed on those responsible, and the impunity of law enforcement officials involved in such human rights violations....

It called on Nepal to

take practical steps to prevent the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials by ensuring that they comply with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169) and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990). It should take appropriate measures to eradicate torture and ill-treatment, including by adoption legislation defining and prohibiting torture with sanctions and remedies commensurate with the gravity of the crime, in accordance with international standards. It should also ensure that law enforcement personnel receive training on Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol). The State party should ensure that allegations of unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment are effectively investigated, and that alleged perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, and that the victims and their families are provided with effective remedies.


There is no regional human rights court with jurisdiction over Nepal.


Rajendra Ghimire v. Prime Minister and Office of the Council of Ministers and others

In its judgment in this case, the Nepali Supreme Court directed the government to criminalise torture, in line with its obligations as a state party to the UN Convention against Torture. The Court stated, “The state should behave with high dignity and high ethics for those who are in custody....” 


2015 Constitution of Nepal

1955 Essential Goods Protection Act

1955 Police Act