KATHMANDU: The Human Rights Watch on Friday urged the government of Nepal to take an immediate action to stop forcible evictions in Kathmandu.
Referring to the eviction of squatters from the banks of Bagmati River, the global rights watchdog issued a press statement from New York today saying the evictions were not carried out in compliance with applicable due process standards, and the government has not provided compensation or social services to those affected, including children.
“If this first round of evictions is any indication, the government of Nepal has no intention to respect the rights of the people living in the settlements,” Asia director at Human Rights Watch Brad Adams said in the statement.
“The government has obligations – at a minimum – to respect due procedure, to inform people affected well in advance, and to ensure availability of alternative housing with basic infrastructure and services.”
The HRW expressed concerns over the purported alternatives to the people who have been evicted from the settlements, saying that according to credible reports from local groups, the government has failed to ensure that alternative housing arrangements are adequate and sustainable.
“Properly planned urban planning and environmental sustainability projects can advance development and promote social and economic rights,” the HRW said, “But such developments should comply with Nepal’s obligations under international law, respect the rights of the individuals and communities concerned, and conform to the best international practices.”
The HRW further urged the government of Nepal to comply with the UN-developed specific standards when embarking on development-based evictions. “These include those set out by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in interpreting the right to adequate housing under that covenant, to which Nepal is a party and which it is legally bound to respect.”
Based on these standards, evictions should never leave people homeless or vulnerable to the violation of human rights, it said, adding that evictions should never occur during the school year or at times when the displacement of families will interrupt children’s education. “And evictions should not take place in bad weather. It is pre-monsoon season in Nepal, and the evicted homeless families are left without any shelter during the rains.”
“The need for urban development and environmental protection is no excuse for disrespecting and disregarding people’s basic rights,” Adams said. “Promotion of the public good and respect for human rights are, and should always be, mutually compatible.”