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FORUM-ASIA condemns use of force against protestors in Nepal

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FORUM-ASIA expresses deep concern over the series of crackdowns against peaceful Tibetan demonstrators in Nepal that have resulted in the arbitrary arrest and detention of more than 1500 people and the violation of people’s rights to freedom of assembly, expression and movement.

FORUM-ASIA expresses deep concern over the series of crackdowns against peaceful Tibetan demonstrators in Nepal. The Bangkok-based human rights organisation, with its 40 member organisations across Asia, calls on the government of Nepal to immediately end the violations of the rights to freedom of assembly, expression and movement.

On 25 March, police with batons violently dispersed hundreds of pro-Tibet protestors near the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. The crackdown resulted in injuries to more than 10 monks, who later were hospitalised, while 100 other monks and other protestors were arrested.

The Nepali police became involved in several pro-Tibet rallies in March 2008. Among others, on March 10, Nepali police arrested 148 people, including 13 Nepali human rights defenders. On 25 March, Nepali police arrested 475 people in another pro-Tibet demonstration in Kathmandu, and on 30 March Nepali police arrested more than 100 Tibetan exiles and Buddhist monks who were protesting in front of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. The protesters were beaten back from the fortified compound by police armed with bamboo batons. A Tibetan activist said a girl and a monk were badly hurt.

Since the demonstration began on 10 March, Nepali police have arbitrarily arrested and detained more than 1500 people.

The demonstration in Nepal is one of a series of solidarity actions around the world by Tibetans in exile and pro-Tibet groups, including Bangkok, Jakarta, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo. It started after the crackdown by the Chinese military on Tibetans calling for the return of the Dalai Lama. According to the figures provided by the Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, India, more than 140 people have been killed in the crackdown by the Chinese military.

Anselmo Lee, FORUM-ASIA’s Executive Director, said: “The human rights violations by the Nepali police are reminiscent of the series of crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators in 2006 by King Gyandera.

“As Nepal is going into its general election next month, which will be a transformation of the country to a more democratic rule, the Nepali government must stop the violation of the freedom of assembly.”

The organisation condemns the violation of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and demands the immediate release of those arbitrarily detained.

Nepal, a neighbouring country to China, has ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In the UN treaty bodies system, the ratified states are obliged to submit reports to the relevant bodies to review, evaluate and recommend the state’s compliance of human rights. Nepal has not submitted an ICCPR report to the UN for the past 11 year.

Mr Lee called on the government of Nepal to “abide by Article 9 of the ICCPR, which states that ‘no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention’. Nepal as a state party to the Covenant and must fully abide by it. The government must also submit a report to the UN Human Rights Committee immediately”.

For more information, please contact:
Anselmo Lee, Director, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), +66 81 868 9178, [email protected]
Yuyun Wahyuningrum, East Asia Programme Manager, +66 87 991 4451, [email protected]
Saji Thomas, South Asia Programme Manager, +66 87 989 5011, [email protected]