Nepal | August 12, 2020

Concern raised about forced eviction

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The National Human Rights Commission has expressed grave concern about the forced eviction of the Chepang people from their settlements in Kusum Khola of Madi Municipality-9, Chitwan, for allegedly occupying the land of the Chitwan National Park.

The Chepang community had been living there for the past 24 years.

Authorities of the national park had set two houses on fire, while demolishing eight other houses with the use of elephants on July 18. The rights body has also drawn its attention to ‘turture to death’ of Rajkumar Chepang, 24, by Nepali Army on July 16.

Issuing a press statement today, the NHRC said its Bagmati Province Office had launched an investigation into the incident. “This is against the provisions articulated in articles 16, 22, 37 and 42 of the constitution, and International Covenant of the Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and ILO Convention to which Nepal is a party,” read the statement, adding that it had violated the citizens’ right to live a dignified life.

The NHRC has called on the Government of Nepal to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the incident and bring to book the guilty at the earliest. The government has also been told to make arrangements for proper housing of the displaced persons and families, and provide reasonable compensation to the family of Rajkumar.

Earlier, Amnesty International had urged the concerned authorities to immediately halt forced eviction of the Chepang community from their settlements.

The Chepang families, belonging to one of Nepal’s most marginalised indigenous communities, lost not just their homes but also their money, identity documents and other possessions, it said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 25, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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