Situation no good: Int’l rights bodies

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 7:

The Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of

Jurists have urged the international community to ‘stand firm’ concerning human rights crisis in Nepal at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

The international rights watchdogs called on the members of the CHR to approve a resolution urging the establishment of a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office with a strong monitoring mandate and the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on human rights to report publicly on the human rights situation in Nepal.

“The release of some political prisoners on April 1 must not be mistaken by the international community as an improvement in the rights situation in Nepal. Hundreds remain detained and arrests continue,” a joint statement quoted Brad Adams, Asia Director of HRA, as saying. He said the government’s record is getting worse and not better. Over 600 rights activists, journalists, lawyers, students, and political activists remain detained for their peaceful and “legitimate” activities since February 1.

Likewise, Nicholas Howen, Secretary-General of the ICJ, said: “We see no sign that the

rule of law is being restored. Violence against civilians carried out by the Maoists and security forces continues.”

The statement further said that the democratic parties, human rights organisations and the media are still controlled under the state of emergency.

The statement highlighted several cases of human rights violations by the government and the Maoists, including the civilian and Maoist clashes in Kapilvastu which resulted in violence and killings.

Expressing concern over the “atmosphere of intimidation and control” that are preventing human rights investigation and reporting, it criticised the government for refusing NHRC access to army barracks most recently on March 31. The security

forces reportedly denied NHRC access to detainees held in army barracks in Kathmandu. Purna Sen, director of the Asia and Pacific Programme at the Amnesty International, called on the authorities to “fully” investigate abuses in Kapilvastu and bring the guilty to book.