Nepal: Physical assault by security personnel from the Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the Riot Police against a group of 6 human rights defenders from different organisations

11/09/2015
Urgent Appeal
PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP

The Observatory has been informed by the Advocacy Forum – Nepal of the physical assault by security personnel from the Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the Riot Police against a group of six human rights defenders from different organisations, i.e.Mr. Ajit Thakur , from the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Raj Kumar Mahaseth from Advocacy Forum – Nepal, Mr. Dev Kumar Mahato from WOREC-Nepal, Mr. Dipendra Das from Manav Adhikar Surakshya Munch (FOPHUR), Mr. Nagendra Sah fromUnnat-Nepaland Mr. Birendra Karn from the THRD Alliance, while they were monitoring a demonstration in Danusha district, Janakpur, Nepal[1] .

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New Information
NPL 001 / 1015 / OBS 074
Physical Assault
Nepal
September 11, 2015

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) has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Nepal.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Advocacy Forum – Nepal of the physical assault by security personnel from the Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the Riot Police against a group of six human rights defenders from different organisations, i.e.Mr. Ajit Thakur , from the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Raj Kumar Mahaseth from Advocacy Forum – Nepal, Mr. Dev Kumar Mahato from WOREC-Nepal, Mr. Dipendra Das from Manav Adhikar Surakshya Munch (FOPHUR), Mr. Nagendra Sah fromUnnat-Nepaland Mr. Birendra Karn from the THRD Alliance, while they were monitoring a demonstration in Danusha district, Janakpur, Nepal[1] .

According to the information, on September 1, 2015, at around 16:30 the six human rights activists were monitoring a demonstration from the top of a building when a gas cell was thrown to them. They contacted the Superintendent of Police (SP) to report the incident and suggested the replacement of the police units arguing that because they were tired and hungry they had become very aggressive. The SP promised to enquire about the incident but refused to change the security force arguing there was no other unit available.

A few minutes later, at 17:15, the human rights defenders decided to help one of the demonstrators, whom, according to the information received, had been shot by the police and was lying on the main road, which, at the time, was empty. However, when they arrived, confrontations had started between the police and some demonstrators. The latter tried to look for shelter in a small street, but 4-5 minutes after they were surrounded by 50 officers from the Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the Riot Police. The six activists were wearing human rights jackets and showed their identification documents. Nevertheless, they were accused of helping the demonstrators and were verbally intimidated, beaten with sticks and kicked by the security forces for about 7-8 minutes. The intervention of four or five members of the Nepal police, who protected them with their shields, prevented the defenders from being more severely injured, and the assault ultimately ended when three Police Inspectors arrived on the spot and stopped the security forces. However, as the human rights defenders were being moved to a safe place, a group of security personnel threw stones at them and hit Mr. Nagendra Sah’s back, which required his transfer for medical treatment at the Janakput City Hospital.

The Observatory strongly condemns the physical assault against the six human rights defenders as a result of their human rights activities, all the more so as they had identified themselves as human rights defenders to the police. The Observatory calls for an immediate, thorough and transparent investigation into the assault, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided by the law.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Nepalto:

i. Order an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the attack against the 6 human rights defenders, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided by the law;

ii. Provide compensation and redress to the injured human rights defenders and take all necessary measures to provide guarantees of non-repetition;

iii. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the 6 human rights defenders as well as that of all human rights defenders in Nepal;

iv. 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:
- 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”;
v. 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. Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Nepal, Singha Darbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: + 977-1-4211065, Email: info@opmcm.gov.np, info@nepal.gov.np.
Mr. Bam Dev Gautam, Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel: +977-1-4211261Email: gunaso@moha.gov.np ,info@moha.gov.np.
Attorney General, Mr. Babu Ram Kunwar, Office of Attorney General Ramshahpath, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: + 977 1 4262582 / 4218051, Email: attorney@mos.com.np,info@attorneygeneral.gov.np , socialjus@gmail.com.
Mr. Anup Raj Sharma, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, (Headquarter-Kathmandu) Harihar Bhawan, Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Nepal G.P.O. Box:9182, Kathmandu, Nepal, Email: nhrc@nhrcnepal.org / complaints@nhrcnepal.org, Fax: +977-1- 5547973.
Mr. Upendra Kant Aryal, Inspector General of Police, Police Head Quarters, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal. Fax: +977 1 4415593. Tel: +977 1 4412432. 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, September 11, 2015

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.

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[1] On September 1, 2015, several demonstrations took place and ended in violent outbreaks between the police and the demonstrators. These events unfolded in the context of an indefinite strike, called by the United Democratic Madhesi Morcha on August 16, 2015. Basic services such as educational institutions, banks, markets have remained closed in areas between Janakpur and Terai Madesh.

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