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ACHR Press Release
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ACHR Index: PR/NEP/08/05/05
10 May 2005

Over 12,000 killed in Nepal
India urged to freeze military aid to Nepal

South Asia Foreign Correspondent Club, New Delhi:

Asian Centre for Human Rights in its report, 100 Days of Tyranny in Nepal stated that the number of people killed has reached 12,000 with the killings of 535 persons by the security forces and 131 persons by the Maoists. Majority of the people killed by the security forces were innocent civilians. Prior to the imposition of emergency, a total of 11,358 i.e. 3.44 persons per day were killed from 13 February 1996 to 28 February 2005. About 6.72 persons were killed each during from 1 February to 9 May 2005.

An estimated 3,284 political activists have been detained upto 7 May 2005. Detainees have been kept in same rooms irrespective of their age, status and physical condition. They are forced to bear their medical expense themselves and deprived of check-ups from expert medical practitioners. The detainees do not have access to clean drinking water. Nor there is enough water for washing and bathing. The Morang jail has 611 prisoners against the total capacity of 200 inmates. The detainees reportedly have to wait for at least two hours in queue to get their turn to take bath or to go to the toilet.

Although emergency has been lifted, there is no end to repression on political opponents. On 1 May 2005, the detention of 175 others including ex-deputy Prime Minister Ram Chandra Poudyal was extended.  On 2 May 2005, the government resumed the post-paid mobile service but many prominent human rights activists, journalists and political leaders, lawyers continued to be denied mobile phone facilities. While senior political leaders continue to be targeted by the Royal Commission for Corruption Control, middle ranking political leaders have been arrested under the Public Safety Act with a view to cripple the democratic movement. On 5 May 2005, police re-arrested student leader Gagan Thapa soon after the Supreme Court ordered his release.

About 27 journalists have been arrested while 20 editors, reporters and publishers of different newspapers were so far summoned by the authorities. Over 2,000 journalists have lost their jobs due to ban on broadcast of news by 41 out of 56 FM radio stations, withdrawal of advertisement and ban on many newspapers.  The ban still continues.

A total of 52 human rights defenders, former members of parliament and judges, academics, lawyers, members of the National Human Rights Commission etc have been arbitrarily prevented from leaving Kathmandu valley. After the socalled lifting of emergency, prominent journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, Nepali Congress leader, Leela Koirala and former Deputy

Speaker, Chitra Lekha Yadav, former lawmaker Urmila Aryal and Srijana Pokhrel have been turned away from Kathmandu airport.

The Maoists have been responsible for violations of international humanitarian laws and specifically targeted the educational institutions and officials. They have burnt down 23 schools and deprived thousands of students from the right to education.

While setting up of monitoring offices of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal is welcome, unless the troika of India, the United States and United Kingdom continue to withhold military and other aid, Gyanendra is unlikely to relent. Unless, both the government and Maoists declare a cease-fire, monitoring of human rights violations is unlikely to reduce the gross human rights violations

“If arms supplies were resumed to Nepal without forming a multi-party government, it would mean supporting the dictatorship of King Gyanendra at the perils of Nepal”, stated Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR.

The restoration of multi-party democratic government with constitutional monarchy is a first step that needs to be taken before creating a framework where over ground political parties of Nepal are able to engage in negotiation with the Maoists to find peaceful solution to the gravest humanitarian crisis in South Asia.

ACHR makes the following recommendations to the international community, in particular the United States, India and United Kingdom:

-         Continue the embargo on military supplies to Nepal until a multi-party government with constitutional monarchy is formed in Nepal;

-         Urge King Gyanendra to unconditionally release all political detainees, journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers, student leaders and withdraw all charges filed under Public Safety Act and other laws for opposing the coup;

-         Urge King Gyanendra to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate excesses committed during emergency; and

-         Repeal of all the ordinances promulgated during the emergency including the Local Administration Fifth Amendment Ordinance and Royal Commission on Corruption Control Ordinance;

To the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and International Committee of the Red Cross:

-         Immediately establish mechanisms to regularly visit all places of detentions to examine the condition of the detainees and ensure that the detainees have access to the basic amenities; and

-         Urge the Maoists to stop targeting the schools and students.

Ends/


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