UN body renews call to halt violent activities

Kathmandu, January 25:

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Nepal, today called on all the actors to stop violent activities during political rallies.

Issuing a press release on the eve of the planned rallies in Janakpur and Nepalgunj, the OHCHR-Nepal reiterated its call for exercising restraint and taking necessary steps to ensure peace in the country.

“Law enforcement officials must respect the right to freedom of assembly with carrying our their duties to protect the public,” representative of the OHCHR Nepal, Richard Bennett said in the press release. “In the face of aggressive or violent demonstrators, any force used should be proportional to the level of threat,” the press release stated. The UN body also called on leaders of all the protesting groups to be responsible to ensure that demonstrations are peaceful and their supporters do not carry sticks, guns or other weapons and refrain from intimidation.

Stating that the rights of journalists and human rights defenders must be respected while they carry out their duties, it said that issuing threats to civil servants, attacks on them and their abduction are unacceptable.

The OHCHR-Nepal also called on all the actors not to employ minors in violent activities as witnessed in recent days.

Expressing concern at the number of explosive devices that were planted recently, including the two during the SPA rallies, it said that these incidents only serve the interests of those who wish to spoil the peace process.

“I would like to insist on that all actors come together in a spirit of tolerance and accommodation and work to ensure the rights to freedom of assembly and opinion are fully respected,” Bennett added.