DEATH THREATS AGAINST MR. KRISHNA PRASAD DHAKAL

05/11/2008
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) about death threats against Mr. Krishna Prasad Dhakal, Editor of the Kapilvastu Sandesh weekly newspaper and Advisor of Kapilvastu chapter of Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ)[1].

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 October 11, 2008, the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (Jwala Singh), an armed group of Terai[2], issued life threats against Mr. Krishna Prasad Dhakal. Indeed, Mr. Sikandar, the Army Commander of the JTMM (Jwala Singh) Kapilvastu, called him from a mobile number (98471-33874) and threatened Mr. Dhakal for writing a press article about extortion.

Stating that Mr. Dhakal was "from hilly origin and of ruling class", Mr. S ikandar warned of killing Mr. Dhakal for "spreading rumours against their movement by mentioning forceful donation drive to voluntary donation given to the group". Three weeks before, Mr. Dhakal had written an article about forceful donation drive of armed groups in Kapilvastu Sandesh, Annapurna Post national daily and Tilotama Daily.

On October 12, 2008, Mr. Sikandar called Mr. Dhakal again from the same mobile number but Mr. Dhakal did not answer the phone call. Mr. Veshraj Pandey, FNJ District President, answered the call and complained to Mr. Sikandar about the threats issued against Mr. Dhakal. In response, Mr. Sikandar told Mr. Pandey that the threat against Mr. Dhakal was not intentional and will not be repeated . However, he cautioned Mr. Pandey not to write such articles without asking them.

After the incident, Mr. Dhakal has not been able to move freely outside his home due to threats from the group.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about these threats against Mr. Krishna Prasad Dhakal, and recalls that according to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels" (Article 1).

Action requested:

Please write to the Nepalese authorities and ask them to:

1- Take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Krishna Prasad Dhakal and of all human rights defenders in Nepal;

2- Order a thorough and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned threats, 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;

3- Put an end to any act of harassment against Mr. Krishna Prasad Dhakal as well as against all human rights defenders in Nepal;

4- Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular above-mentioned Article 1, 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";

5- Ensure in all circumstances respect for 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, Novembre 5, 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

[1] The Federation of Nepalese Journalists is an umbrella organisation of working journalists across the country. The Federation is the only organisation of working journalists active across the country with 79 district and associate chapters. The Federation has over 5000 active members.

[2] Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (Jwala Singh) is an armed group active in Terai region of the country. The group is very active in eastern Terai but has been carrying out violent activities in western Terai as well. The underground group has been involved in abductions, murder, extortion and also spreading terror in the society. Though the group claims itself as a political force, which is fighting for the autonomous v region, but most of its activities are criminal. Reports say the group is conducting its activities from India. During the decade long Maoist insurgency, Maoists used to treat Human Rights Activists and journalists positively but the group treats human rights activists negatively. Initially there was only Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha but the group splintered into various armed outfits and the Jwala Singh faction is one faction among many factions of Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha.

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