Obstacles to the freedom of peaceful assembly of women human rights defenders of the Badi community - NPL 004 / 0907 / OBS 108

04/09/2007
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about obstacles to the freedom of peaceful assembly of women human rights defenders of the Badi community, a small Dalit community in Nepal, who denounced the violations of their human rights by feudal structures of the state [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 August 22, 2007, three dozen women human rights defenders from the Badi community staged protests in Singha Durbar, in Kathmandu. Some of their demands included rehabilitation of women who have been forced to work as commercial sex workers, right to own land, representation of at least one female and one male candidate in the constituent assembly, establishment of legal bodies at all levels of the government addressing issues such as racial discrimination, untouchability and legal identity to their children who are deprived of citizenship certificates. In the process of asserting their rights, these women were severely beaten for entering the “restricted areas” [2] and detained in custody. All protestors were released later on that day, without being charged.

On August 27, 2007, as a continuation of their demands, 450 Badi women and men, out of which 225 were women from the Badi Community Struggle Committee, along with members of the Dalit Civil Society Movement, staged a joint protest to enter in Singha Durbar. However, they were charged with showers of truncheon. The police even tried to take off the sari and petticoat of Ms. Uma Devi Badi, the Coordinator of the Badi Community Struggle Committee. The Police arrested 120 protestors and took them to various police battalion areas. Among others, Mr. Binod Pahari, Head of the Dalit Civil Society Movement, Ms. Uma Devi Badi and ten members of Women Human Rights Defenders of Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) were taken to the Armed Police Force Battalion number 2 in Maharajgunj. They were all released in the evening, without charge against them.

In addition, seven protestors were injured, including five women.

The police further stated that they had been ordered “from above” to charge the protestors if they were to try to enter the “restricted areas”.

Actions required:

Please write to the Nepalese authorities urging them to:

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

ii. Put an end to any obstacles to the freedom of peaceful assembly in the country;

iii. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned events, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by the law;

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

v. Conform 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 its 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” and article 12.2, which states 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 the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. 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 :

- Home Minister Mr. Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Government of Nepal, Ministry of Home Affairs, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel: +977 1 4211211 / 4211229, Fax: 97714211232 Email: moha@wlink.com.np
- Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister’s office, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: + 977 142 27286
- Mr. Ram Chandra Poudel, Minister for Peace and Rehabilitation, Peace Secretariat, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: +977 1 4211186 and 4211173, E-mail: info@peace.gov.np
- Mr. Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma, Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax: 977-1-4241516, E-mail: mowcsw@ntc.net.np
- Mr. Yagya Murti Banjade, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Ramshahpath, Kathmandu, Nepal, Fax : +97714262582, Email : attorney@mos.com.np
- National Human Rights Commission, Pulchowck, Lalitpur, NEPAL, Fax: +977 1 5547973, Email: complaints@nhrcnepal.org / nhrc@nhrcnepal.org
- SP Navaraj Silwal, Police Human Rights Cell, Nepal Police Head Quarter, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal PO. Box. No.: 407, Tel: +977 1 4 411 618 Fax : 9771415593 E-mail: hrcell@nepalpolice.gov.np
- Mr. Om Bikram Rana, Inspector General of Police, Police Head Quarters, Naxal, Kathmandu, NEPAL, Fax: +977 1 4415593, Email: info@nepalpolice.gov.np
- Ambassador Acharya, Gyan Chandra, Permanent Mission of Nepal, 81 rue de la Servette, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +4122 7332722, E-mail: mission.nepal@ties.itu.int
- Ambassador Thata Yarayan, Embassy of Nepal in Brussels, Brugmannlaan 210, 1180 Brussels, Tel: +32 2 346 26 58 / 2 346 66 38, Fax: +32 2 344 13 61, E-mail: rne.bru@skynet.be

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

***

Geneva - Paris, September 4, 2007

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code 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:

Email : Appeals@fidh-omct.org

Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

Read more
appelobs