Rights abuses on the rise after Emergency: AI

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 22:

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) expressed deep concern over the

“growing catalogue” of human rights violations by both the government and Maoists following the declaration of the state of Emergency. AI highlighted the human rights violations in its report titled ‘Nepal: Human rights abuses escalate under the state of emergency’ released on Wednesday. It urged the government to restore the people’s fundamental rights and urged the warring factions to respect human rights and end impunity. It has also questioned government claim of “relaxing” the Emergency pointing to the fact that fundamental rights are still being denied, the ongoing censorship of media and the thousands of political arrests.

AI stated it was concerned that the independence of the judiciary and National Human Rights Commission was “at risk”.

The report highlighted cases of the recent escalation of violence and a large number of casualties including many civilians, arrests of journalists and political workers. It has brought cases of disappearances, abduction including Maoist atrocities to the fore, raised concerns about the “emergence of mob violence” that has spread terror among local communities.

AI welcomed the agreement reached last week at the UN Commission on Human Rights for nationwide human rights monitoring by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“This is a very important step towards improving the appalling human rights situation that the Nepali people face today. However, the international community cannot afford to be complacent.” AI urged the international community to remain alert to the grave human rights situation and ensure the commitments are fully implemented. “The international community must act in coordination to ensure that every pressure is placed on the government to restore rights and freedoms to the people, and on both parties to respect human rights and end impunity for abuses,” the report said.

AI in its statement demanded the human rights defenders be allowed to carry out their work without any harassment or threat. “All restrictions on investigating and reporting should be lifted to allow the Nepali people and the world to hear a full account of the human rights situation in Nepal,” said Purna Sen, Asia Pacific Programme Director at AI, in the statement.