Crackdown on peaceful gathering in Nepal a serious threat to freedom of assembly and expression
5 April 2006 12:00 am
There is another major crackdown on human rights in Nepal today, following a peaceful assembly by the people on the streets of Kathmandu. In view of this latest incident, FORUM-ASIA demands immediate release of all the political activists, students, and professionals, including journalists, lawyers, doctors, litterateurs, artists and social activists in Nepal; and lift all forms of restrictions on public gatherings, peaceful protests and the movement of the people.The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) condemns the crackdown on peaceful assembly, restriction on movement and brutal manhandling and arrests of dozens of political leaders and professionals in Kathmandu today.
The government has clamped curfew orders with the Ring Road area in Kathmandu and Latlipur districts from today (Wednesday, 5 April 2006). By issuing orders to ban public gatherings and peaceful protests, the government of Nepal has diametrically imposed a serious threat over the freedom of peaceful assembly and association as well as the freedom of expression and opinion.
Such crackdown has come on the eve of the capital-centered protest programmes scheduled by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) for 6-9 April 2006.
Recent attacks on the peaceful rally of professional organisations and the arrests of political leaders from their homes in the capital city have distressed the democratic and human rights movement in Nepal even further.
Massive use of plain-clothed security personnel to arrest the political leaders, following the remarks of Home Minister Kamal Thapa on 4 April 2006, ‘take strong steps to contain the general strike and other protest programmes of the parties,’ have further challenged the basic principles of rule of law and democratic values.
FORUM-ASIA is also concerned over the restrictions posed by the government authorities in various districts barring public transportations from departing to the capital city. Such atrocities have curtailed the right to movement and worsened the daily life of the people.
FORUM-ASIA strongly demands immediately release of all the political activists, students, and professionals, including journalists, lawyers, doctors, litterateurs, artists and social activists; and lift all forms of restrictions on public gatherings, peaceful protests and the movement of the people.