OHCHR urges govt, agitating parties for talks

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 24, 2015-

Concerned by the ongoing protests in Tarai districts, the UN 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 expressed deep concerns over the continued violence in the southern belt in which at least 41 people, including nine security personnel, have been killed 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 the statement issued by OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville.

The OHCHR has also expressed its alarm over the high number of deaths and injuries of protesters, 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,”the statement said.

The protests escalated following alleged killings of civilians, including children, by security forces in the Tarai. According to national human rights organisations, including the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the killings were the result of excessive use of force.

“We fully support the call of the NHRC 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,”the OHCHR said.

The UN agency also commended a recent interim order issued by the Supreme Court barring the use of 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.”

Rights organisations have reported that almost all the victims were shot in their heads or chests, though 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, the OHCHR also urged the Nepal government to create “a climate where minority or dissenting views or beliefs are respected.”

India hopes for early solution

New Delhi: National Security to Advisor to the Indian Prime Minister Ajit Doval has suggested Nepal to pursue all possible agreement for peace and stability even after the adoption of the constitution.

“We are hopeful of an early solution to political situation in Nepal. As soon as we see an environment of peace and stability, we would welcome the constitution along with the attendant political processes,” Doval told Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay.

“Doval also expressed concern about the negative debate on the India-Nepal relations and stressing on the importance of a serious reflection on both sides.”

Pointing to a flurry of Indian statements on protests and unrest in areas of Nepal bordering India, Doval spoke of a potential

communication gap between different agencies of the Indian government. In the future, the Nepalis Embassy in Delhi will be taken into confidence, Doval was quoted as saying.

Published: 24-09-2015 08:23

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