we upload the ACHR REVIEW, the High Level Plenary Meeting
of the 60th session of the United Nations General
Assembly (UNGA) begins in New York. The diplomats in New York have reportedly
agreed on Draft Outcome Document (DOD) to be adopted at the
meeting. On the proposed
United Nations Human Rights Council, the document simply states
a pledge to set up a new council, without more details.
Few other sessions of the UNGA have generated
In Nepal, King Gyanendra
cancelled his visit to the UNGA in the face of mounting opposition
from the political parties and civil society groups.
Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey is representing
His Majesty. Although the cancellation of King’s UN visit
is a moral victory for the democratic forces and the human
rights defenders, the political stalemate in the Himalayan
On 22 August 2005, seven party alliance in principle
decided to hold dialogue with the Maoists. But, no visible
progress has been made on this front as yet. King Gyanednra
has also spurned the unilateral cease-fire declared by the
Maoists on 3 September 2005.
i. Continued gross human
Though state of emergency was lifted on 29 April 2005,
flagrant violations of human rights both by the security forces
and the Maoists continue to be reported.
Security forces continue to extrajudicially execute
innocent people, apart from arbitrary arrest, excessive use
of force during arrest, illegal detention and torture. According
to the estimates of Asian Centre for Human Rights, about 665
persons have been killed by the Maoists and the security forces
between 30 April 2005 and 12 September 2005. Out of them,
374 were killed by the security forces.
On 2 May 2005
at 10.30 am, 22-year-old Rupen Rai was extrajudicially killed
by Royal Nepal Army (RNA) soldiers at Soyang area of Ilam
district. A statement issued by the RNA in Kathmandu claimed
that he was a Maoist rebel killed in encounter. But a probe
conducted by Human Rights Monitoring Coordination Committee
comprising of 10
members from the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Child
Workers in Nepal, and other human rights organizations, found
that “injured Rai could have well been taken into custody
after the forces fired at him. However, the security personnel
continued firing at him, thereby killing him outright.” According
to the report, there was no retaliation from the Maoists’
On 3 July 2005, plain-clothes
security personnel shot dead Rama Adhikari (38 years) in front
of her husband at their residence in Taghandubba-7 in Jhapa
district, accusing her of having “fed the Maoist cadres”.
The security forces also threatened to kill the other five members
of the family and tried to bury her secretly. Later on, an
officer from the District Police Office asked Devi Prasad, the husband of the deceased, to sign a paper.
A fact-finding team consisting of HimRights
LifeLine, INSEC, CWIN, CVICT and Advocacy Forum also found
that Rama Adhikari was summarily executed.
The government treats the
court with contempt. As many as 22 persons, including former minister Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta and student leaders Gagan
Thapa and Rajendra Rai, have
been re-arrested following their release by the Supreme Court
since lifting of emergency on 29 April 2005. And the government defends such illegal re-arrests. When
asked by journalists why student leader Rajendra Rai was re-arrested
on 18 May 2005, the Home
Minister Dan Bahadur Shahi replied, “Did the Supreme Court order not to re-arrest him?”
Censorship on the freedom
of press continues. Private FM radios continue to be denied
permission to air news bulletin. At least 176 journalists
have been detained while protesting or covering protests,
13 were summoned, and 16 others were harassed or assaulted by
the security forces since the lifting of the emergency.
The government also restricts
the freedom of movement of human rights defenders. After
an armed clash on 7 August
2005, the security forces had barred human rights activists
and journalists from visiting Pili in Kalikot district, where
at least 43 army men and more than two dozen Maoists were
investigation by INSEC found that on 11 August 2005 patrolling
security personnel set fire to a health center, beat up and
shot local people on suspicion of being Maoists in the villages
adjoining Pili following the Pili attack by Maoists.
The Maoists too have been
responsible for gross violations of international humanitarian
laws including indiscriminate targeting of the civilians.
Between 30 April 2005 and 12 September 2005, the Maoists have
killed at least 291 people. The Maoists have also been responsible
for abduction of hundreds of people including students.
Though the Maoists announced
a three-month unilateral ceasefire on 3 September 2005, there
have been reports of cease-fire violations.
Given the determination
of King Gyanendra to cling on to power, there is no visible
progress to break the stalemate. The Maoists have expressed
desire to sit for negotiation with the help of United Nations.
From 29 August to 1 September 2005, United Nations
Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Special Advisor Lakhadar Brahimi,
senior political advisor to the Secretary General, Samuel
Tamrat and the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights in Nepal, Ian Martin visited New Delhi. They
reportedly held parleys with India’s Foreign Minister K. Natwar
Singh, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and other senior officials. New Delhi reportedly rejected the proposal
for UN mediation.
India's position is not new. India's role is also
indispensable to address the stalemate in the landlocked Kingdom.
However, it has so far failed to facilitate some sort of agreement
amongst the forces opposed to the dictatorship of King Gyanendra
or put adequate and effective pressure on King Gyanendra.
H.E. Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Keith Bloomfield,
in his article, Terrorism – No Double Standards, in
The Rising Nepal on 28 July 2005 elucidated the position of
the British government. Ambassador Bloomfield wrote that he
was often “challenged to explain alleged British double standards
on terrorism in relation to the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.
How come we condemn the London terror attacks so strongly
yet do not label the Maoists terrorists? How come we are even
urging the Nepalese government to negotiate with terrorists?”
As Ambassador Bloomfield wrote ”There is a world of
difference between (a) an armed insurrection involving thousands
of a country’s own citizens in a classic guerrilla warfare
environment, with political and socio-economic demands, many
of which are shared by the mainstream political parties, and
(b) Al Qaeda, which is a worldwide extremist network and involves
only a tiny minority of a minority religious group in the
UK, with no coherent negotiable demands or formal structure”.
Unlike United Kingdom, the position of the United
States despite the continued arms embargo has not been consistent
with regard to the dealing with the Maoists.
The troika of India, United
States and United Kingdom must get their act together to ensure
that King Gyanendra ensures the restoration of full democracy
and paves the way for dialogue with the Maoists. Or else,
the United Nations should be allowed to mediate.
India on its part must not
oppose any resolution on the situation of human rights in
Nepal at the Third Committee of the General Assembly or the
General Assembly. India rather must act more decisively if
it seeks to maintain its turf on Nepal.
As an aspiring
member of the United Nations Security Council, it must also
not view the UN Secretariat with usual suspicion, and
time has come for India to shed its cold-war psyche