OHCHR expresses concern over continued violence in Terai
Sep 23, 2015-
Concerns over the ongoing protests in Terai, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has urged all parties to engage in a meaningful, inclusive and open dialogue.
Issuing a statement on Wednesday, the UN rights body has expressed deep concerns over the continued violence during the protests in the southern belt. According to reports, at least 41 people, including 9 security personnel, have been killed and many injured since August 25.
“With the adoption of the new Constitution, Nepal has reached an important point in the peace process. After all the suffering endured by the population during the internal conflict and the immense efforts to bring lasting peace to Nepal, a return to violent confrontation would be disastrous,” said OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville.
Colville said he was alarmed by the high number of deaths and injuries of protestors, security personnel and bystanders. “We are also concerned about reported attacks against human rights defenders and journalists as well as by vandalism against government buildings during protests,” he said.
The protests escalated following alleged killings of civilians, including children, by security forces in the Terai. According to national human rights organizations, including the National Human Rights Commission, the killings were a result of excessive use of force.
“We fully support the call of the National Human Rights Commission for independent investigations into incidents of violence related to the protests. Alleged perpetrators should be prosecuted and sanctioned and the families of the victims compensated,” said Colville.
The OHCHR commended a recent interim order issued by the Supreme Court to not to use lethal weapons to control the ongoing protests in several Tarai districts. “We welcome the recent stay order of the Supreme Court on the excessive use of force in response to protests and urge the Nepalese authorities to ensure that existing national and international standards on the appropriate use of force are fully respected by security forces,” he added.
The rights organisations have reported that almost all the dead received bullet in head or chest. The Local Administration Act specifies that security personnel are allowed to shoot at suspected criminals or law violators below their knees.
Noting that the rights to freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly are essential elements in the promotion of democracy, Colville also urged the Nepal government to create “a climate where minority or dissenting views or beliefs are respected.”
Colville also stressed that leaders of protesting groups have a responsibility to ensure that demonstrations are peaceful and that their supporters do not carry sticks, guns or other weapons and refrain from attacks against government buildings and property.
Colville also called on all sides to resolve their differences through open and inclusive dialogue.
Published: 23-09-2015 19:39