Nepal: Arbitrary arrest of twelve human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations

04/03/2016
Urgent Appeal

NPL 001 / 0316 / OBS 021
Arbitrary arrests / Release /
Obstacles to freedom of assembly
Nepal
March 4, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Nepal.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by Advocacy Forum - Nepal of the arbitrary arrest by the police of a group of twelve human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations as they were peacefully demonstrating to demand justice for the victims of Nepal’s armed conflict.

According to the information received, on February 19, 2016, at around 8:40 am, Messrs. Janak Bahadur Raut, Chairperson of the Conflict Victims Society for Justice, Ram Bhandari, Secretary General of the Conflict Victims Common Platform, Bikash Basnet, Program Coordinator at Advocacy Forum-Nepal, Surya Bahadur Adhikari, Chairperson of Amnesty International Nepal, Ashok Shrestha Joshi and Bikram Dhukuchu, two members of Amnesty International Nepal, Charan Prasai, a human rights activist, Rasna Dhakal and Kanak Mani Dixit, two journalists and human rights activists, and Mahamuni Ishwor Acharya, Bikram Chaudhary and Ms. Sabitri Shrestha, victims of Nepal’s armed conflict, were all arrested by the police in Tundikhel, Ratna Park, Kathmandu, where several Government representatives (including Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli and President Bidhya Devi Bhandari), were expected to observe Democracy Day. At the time of their arrest, the demonstrators were peacefully sitting on the roadside with a banner which read “Give Justice to Ganga Maya [1], Implement Supreme Court’s Order, Give Justice to Conflict Victims”.

The group was then taken to the Metropolitan Police Circle (MPC) in Anamagar, Singhadurbar, where the police documented the personal details of the demonstrators. The demonstrators were never provided a reason for their arrest, and they were released without charges after four hours in detention.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest of the twelve above-mentioned demonstrators, which appears aimed at sanctioning them for exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Nepal to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Nepal;

ii. Put an end to all acts harassment, including at the judicial level, against all human rights defenders in Nepal;

iii. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:
- Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- Article 5, which underscores the right of every individual to form, join, and participate in non-governmental organizations; and
- Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

Iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Nepal.

Addresses:

· Mr. Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers of Nepal, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, P.O. Box: 23312, Nepal. Fax: +977 1 4211086, Email: info@opmcm.gov.np
· Mr. Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Home Minister of Nepal, Ministry of Home Affairs, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: +977 1 421-1257, 421-1286, Email: gunaso@moha.gov.np
· Mr. Anupraj Sharma, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Nepal, Fax: +977 1 55 47973, E-mail: complaints@nhrcnepal.org; nhrc@nhrcnepal.org
· Mr. Hari Krishna Karki, Office of Attorney General Ramshah Path, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: +977 1 4262582 / 4218051 Email: info@attorneygeneral.gov.np
· Mr. Upendra Kant Aryal, Inspector General of Police, Police Head Quarters, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: +977 1 4415593, Email: phqigs@nepalpolice.gov.np
· H.E. Mr. Deepak Dhital, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in Geneva, 81 rue de la Servette, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 733 27 22, E-mail: mission.nepal@bluewin.ch
· H.E. Mr. Ram Mani Pokharel, Ambassador of Nepal in Brussels, Avenue Brugmann 210, 1050 Brussels, Tel: +32 2 346 26 58 / 02 346 26 58, Fax: +32 2 344 13 61, E-mail: embn@skynet.be

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Nepal in your respective countries.

Geneva-Paris, March 4, 2016

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
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