Thapa defends statute, calls blockade unlawful

  • India, Sweden and Switzerland voice concerns over unrest in the Tarai
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa tells the member nations that the Tarai crisis is Nepal’s internal problem

Nov 5, 2015-Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa has said that Nepal has every right to promulgate its constitution on its own, and restricting supply of goods from the border is unacceptable.

Responding to the concerns raised by participants in the 23rd Session of Universal Period Review (UPR) session in Geneva on Wednesday, Thapa said that the Tarai crisis is Nepal’s internal problem and it is competent enough resolve it.

Foreign Minister Thapa made such remarks after the Indian delegation expressed concerns about violence and unrest in the Tarai after Nepal adopted the new constitution. The Indian side mentioned the death of 45 people after the promulgation of the constitution and suggested that security measures are not solution to ongoing protests in the post constitution context.

Thapa refuted the India’s claim of 45 deaths and said that those deaths had occurred before the promulgation of the new constitution.

“Yes, there are some grievances, and disappointments, after the promulgation of the constitution. But it is a mistake to claim that 45 people has died after Nepal adopted the constitution,” Thapa said.

He said the Nepal government is serious about addressing the genuine concerns raised by the Madhes community. The foreign minister also informed the session that Nepal has incurred a loss of over 5 billion USD due to the unofficial blockade enforced by India, which has sparked shortage of essentials like fuel and medicines and brought the country’s industries to a standstill.

He said restricting the movement of goods to a landlocked country is against the international law.

 “We are at a very delicate situation, resulting from the obstruction of essential supplies at the border points,” Thapa told the session. “If the current situation continues, Nepal could experience an unjust and severe humanitarian crisis.”

Thapa asserted the promulgation of the new constitution as “conclusion of peace process and historic political transition” in Nepal, which safeguards every human rights of people from all sections. He claimed that the new constitution was written and promulgated in democratic manner to accommodate all voices from across the society.

“It (constitution) also significantly ensures inclusive democracy, pluralism, the rule of law, the democratic values of governance, representative and accountable government, social and economic justice, and universally accepted human rights,” Thapa said.

India, Sweden and Switzerland expressed their concerns about the violence and unrest in the Tarai after Nepal adopted the new constitution. They also brought up the issue of security forces using excessive force against the protesting ethnic groups and the casualties.

Govinda Bandi, human rights lawyer participating in the session, said the member countries, though sympathetic towards Nepal’s struggle in the wake of the April 25 earthquake, seemed sceptical about the implementation of the constitution due to the ongoing protest in Tarai and the effectiveness of transitional justice mechanisms.

Ramesh Dhakal, one of the Nepali delegates, informed the session that Nepal has adopted the principle of gender equality and non-discrimination to issue citizenship. He claimed the new constitution ensures that a woman can pass on citizenship to her children independently.

Such claim comes a day after the Amnesty International wrote an open letter to Nepali Prime Minister, urging to amend the discriminatory provision in citizenship. According to the new constitution, a child has to prove that both his/her parents are Nepalis to get a citizenship by birth.

“This provision is exclusive and discriminatory towards children of single parents, Nepali women married to foreigners, refugee parents who might be unable to prove citizenship of both parents, as well as LGBTI parents,” said the rights organisation.

Published: 05-11-2015 08:50

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