www.sacw.net | February 8, 2004
Nepal Under Military Rule
Urgent Public Appeal from the Nepalese Human Rights Community
February 5, 2005
To: President, Asian Development Bank
Prime Minister, Australia
Prime Minister, Canada
Prime Minister, Denmark
President, European Commission
Prime Minister, Germany
Prime Minister, Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Prime Minister, Japan
Prime Minister, Netherlands
Prime Minister, Norway
Prime Minister, Republic of India
President, Republic of China
Prime Minister, Sweden
Prime Minister, Switzerland
Prime Minister, United Kingdom
President, United States of America
Secretary-General, United Nations
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
President, World Bank
CC: Asian Human Rights Commission
Diplomatic Missions in Nepal
Hague Appeal for Peace
Secretary General, SAARC
Secretary General, South Asia Forum for Human Rights
Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killing
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defender
Special Rapporteur on Torture
Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
United Nations Offices operating in Nepal
Jimmy Carter, Former President, USA
Patrick Leahy, Senator, USA
Working Group on Involuntary Disappearance
We, the members of the Nepalese human rights community, express our serious concern regarding the King's February 1, 2005 announcement of forming government under his chairmanship and the declaration of "state of emergency" and virtually handing over the country's governance to the Royal Nepal Army. The King's invocation of Article 27 ó C to usurp all state power is a fraud on the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990. We, the Nepalese people now live under an illegal military rule headed by the King.
As you are aware almost all the rights guaranteed by the Nepalese Constitution and those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international instruments that Nepal is a party to have been suspended. Complete press censorship has been imposed. All means of communication including telephones, internet, and cable tv access to international news media have been severed. All this has been done to create complete terror and panic among the ordinary people.
The King's actions violate international practices and legal standards for human rights even under the conditions of a legitimate "state of emergency." We are deeply concerned by the growing number of political prisoners and the increasing insecurity of human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers. The current surveillance, monitoring, and harassment of human rights organizations and activists, including obstacles set in place to interrupt the work of the National Human Rights Commission, as well as the harassment of journalists, is unacceptable.
During this critical time, we, the Nepalese human rights defenders, urge the international community to take the following immediate measures to ensure the protection of the fundamental human rights of the citizens and safety of political activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers, and stop ongoing atrocities by the security forces.
1. The continuing illegal detention of the leaders of the political parties and students' organizations violates the basic norms of human rights and the exercise of political rights. We urge the international community to put adequate pressure on the new regime to disclose the whereabouts of the illegally detained leaders, to refrain from torture, and initiate measures for their unconditional release.
2. The growing insecurity of human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers creates further fear and terror among the common people. It also creates obstacles to conduct investigations of human rights abuses. We urge the international community to undertake immediate measures to get guarantees for their safety so they may carry out their legitimate activities without any form of interruption.
3. The King's direct rule is the establishment of a military regime in Nepal. We request all foreign governments to stop all forms of military support, including supplying arms and ammunition to the Nepalese government, which are being used to brutally suppress the rights of the common people.
4. We urge the international community to put pressure on Nepalese authorities to reinstate all fundamental human rights of the citizen that are indispensable, inalienable and indivisible, which are currently suspended.
5. The restriction of free flow of information and media censorship violates the people rights to freedom of information. So, we request the international community to take diplomatic actions to convince the King to lift all forms of media censorship immediately.
6. The shut down of communication services creates severe difficulties for the common people to carry out even daily tasks, as well as restricting democratic practices and civil society activities. We request the international community to put immediate pressure on the King to resume all communication services with immediate effect.
We strongly urge your immediate intervention in order to restore democracy and protect the rights of all Nepalese citizens. We believe that this is a legitimate obligation of the international community under the charter of the United Nations to uphold fundamental human rights and democracy among all member states of UN.
This appeal has been submitted on behalf of 25 leading Human Rights Organizations. Due to the current threat to human rights defenders, the names of the organizations have been kept confidential.
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