Excessive force used against Tarai protesters
Kathmandu, April 14
An annual report of the United States Department of State has pointed out that security personnel in Nepal used excessive force to control protests against the new constitution, especially in the Tarai.
“The most significant human rights violations included the alleged use of excessive force by security personnel in controlling protests related to finalisation of the new constitution, especially in the Tarai region,” states the executive summary of the Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2015.
The report adds that the continued absence of a permanent constitution for much of the year and further delay in having in place functioning transitional justice mechanisms exacerbated the lack of accountability for human rights and humanitarian law violations during the country’s 10-year insurgency.
The report also pointed out that discrimination against women was a persistent problem, and the new constitution also contained provisions that discriminate by gender.
Poor prison and detention centre conditions and police mistreatment of detainees, vulnerability of the courts to political pressure, bribery, and intimidation, besides problems of harassment of media and press self-censorship continued, it further stated.
“The government sometimes restricted freedom of assembly, notably in areas where violent protests against the constitutional process were taking place from August through the end of the year.
The government limited freedoms for refugees, particularly for resident Tibetans,”
it explained.It further pointed out that corruption remained a problem at all levels of government and citizenship laws and regulations that discriminate by gender contributed to statelessness and early and forced marriage and rape and domestic violence against women, including dowry-related deaths, remained serious problems.
“Violence against children, including reported abuse at orphanages continued and was rarely prosecuted. Sex trafficking of adults and minors remained a significant problem.
Discrimination against persons with disabilities, lower-caste individuals, and some ethnic groups continued, as did some harassment against sexual minorities.”
The report said there were some restrictions on workers’ rights and the government made little progress in combating forced and bonded labour, which persisted despite laws banning the practice, though there was moderate progress in efforts to eliminate child labour, the report stated.
The government routinely investigated and held officials and security forces accused of committing violations of the law accountable.
“The government, however, has not done the same in connection with allegations of excessive force during the sometimes violent demonstrations objecting to some of the terms of the new constitution, from August through the end of the year, the report said.