Assassination of two trade unionists / Excessive police violence against trade union protesters - NPL 003 / 0908 / OBS 150

09/09/2008
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) about the assassination of Messrs. Kebal Raut and Krishna Yadav, two active members of the Nepali Factory Workers’ Union (NFWU).

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:

According to the information received, on August 29, 2008, Messrs. Kebal Raut and Krishna Yadav, two workers of Narayani Rolling Mills, in the Bara District, were shot by the police while trying to hand over a package of workers’ demands to the company management. The NFWU was indeed engaged in collective bargaining talks with the company management. When the workers, with both NFWU members among them, tried to approach management in order to hand over their demands, the police suddenly intervened and started blindly firing shots at them, killing both Mr. Raut and Mr. Yadav, and seriously injuring about 50 other workers.

Furthermore, on September 3, 2008, the police arrested no less than 80 union leaders during a peaceful protest in Kathmandu, including Mr. Santosh Rayamajhi, General Secretary of the United Telecom Ltd (UTL) workers’ trade union. The union had organised a rally in support of its demands for an end to the system of temporary contracts for the workers, for better working conditions, and for the true application of Nepal’s labour and trade union laws. The unionists were arrested in a very aggressive and brutal way, and many of them were injured. Some of them were even wounded by bullets, including a number of women. Among those injured were Messrs. Sundar K.C., Suman Rayamajhi, Subodharaj Tiwari, Dor Bahadur Bodhathoki, Santosh Adhikari, Bikram Basnet, Sushil Aryal, Nira Kshetri, Kabila Regmi, Saraswati Thapa, Saraswati Niraula, Lokmani Maskey and Sushil Maharjan. All detainees were held at the Mahendra police station, on Exhibition Road in Kathmandu, to be released only in the evening.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about Messrs. Kebal Raut and Mr. Krishna Yadav’s assassination, and urges the Nepalese authorities to order a thorough and impartial investigation into their assassination in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law. The Observatory is further concerned by the recent acts of harassment against trade unionists in Nepal.


Action requested:

Please write to the Nepalese authorities and ask them to:

i. Take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Nepal, including trade unionists;

ii. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into Messrs. Kebal Raut and Mr. Krishna Yadav’s assassination in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Guarantee that adequate reparation is provided to Messrs. Kebal Raut and Mr. Krishna Yadav’s families;

iv. Put an end to any act of harassment against all human rights defenders in Nepal;

v. Comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", as well as Article 12.2, which provides that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or 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 the rights referred to in the present Declaration";

vi. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by Nepal.

Addresses:

· Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Email: info@opmcm.gov.np. Fax: + 977 1-4428220

· Home Minister Mr. Bam Dev Gautam, Government of Nepal, Ministry of Home Affairs, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: + 977-1-4211264. Email: moha@wlink.com.np / homegon@wlink.com.np

· Minister of State for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Dev Prasad Gurung, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: 977-1-4220684. Email: molaw@wlink.com.np

· Mr. Janardan Sharma "Prabhakar", Minister, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Singhdurbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: 977-1-4211186, 4211173. Email: info@peace.gov.np

· Mr. Kedar Nath Uppadhya, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Pulchowck, Lalitpur, Nepal; Email: nhrc@nhrcnepal.org and also complaints@nhrcnepal.org, Fax: +977 1 5547973

· Ambassador Mr. Dinesh Bhattarai, Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in Geneva, 81 rue de la Servette, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +4122 7332722, E-mail: mission.nepal@ties.itu.int

· Embassy of Nepal in Brussels, avenue Brugmannlaan 210, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 344 13 61, E-mail: embn@skynet.be

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

***

Geneva - Paris, September 9, 2008

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.


To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

Tel and fax: FIDH : +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 (0) 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT : + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 (0) 22 809 49 29
Email : Appeals@fidh-omct.org

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