Men holding the national flag of Nepal. © Photo: S Pakhrin / Flickr

Nepal
News

Nepal l Violations against human rights defenders highlighted at Human Rights Council

At the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, ISHR along with the Informal Sector Service Center presented a joint statement in Nepal’s Universal Periodic Review expressing concern about the situation of human rights defenders in the country.

Too often, human rights defenders face violence as a result of their work. ISHR and INSEC’s joint written statement to the Council on the situation of human rights defenders in Nepal reports instances of health workers, journalists, civil society activists and human rights advocates being arrested, threatened, treated inhumanely, and beaten by police as a result of their advocacy.

The Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), a Nepal-based human rights NGO that works to protect and promote the fundamental rights of disadvantaged groups in all sectors of society, has documented 280 cases of defenders’ rights being violated or abused in the past two years. 78 of these violations were committed by State authorities themselves, while 202 were perpetrated by non-State actors. The joint statement highlighted that the government’s response to six defenders being killed by non-State groups in 2020 was ‘incredibly weak’ and 

‘This is not acceptable,’ says Bijaya Gautam, Executive Director of INSEC. ‘As a member of the Human Rights Council, Nepal must ensure the development and implementation of genuine and substantial measures for the protection of human rights defenders, and enable their work.’

‘For their own sake and for that of their communities – local, national, regional, global – human rights defenders must be protected, a responsibility which falls to the State,’ adds Guatam. ‘This is especially true in Nepal where impunity and a lack of government transparency associated with the end of a ten-year armed conflict have contributed to increased threats and weak government protection for defenders.’

Recommending States to the Universal Periodic Review have called for Nepal to take measures to protect defenders, but these calls have not been heeded. 

The joint statement calls on the State of Nepal to:

Take steps to ensure an enabling environment for human rights defenders through the promulgation or amendment of laws which restrict rights to assembly and expression; and
Collaborate with civil society to take steps to develop a national law for the protection of human rights defenders.

‘We fervently hope that Nepal will recognize the importance of these recommendations and begin to make changes to better support their defenders’ concluded ISHR’s Tess McEvoy.

Related articles

HRC: Results show need for competition in Human Rights Council elections

Today, UN member States elected members to the UN's top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, for the 2022-2024 term. 18 candidates ran for 18 seats, and all were elected, leaving civil society disappointed in a process that can hardly be called an election.

80 States speak out on reprisals at UN General Assembly

On 14 October 2021, the UK delivered a cross-regional statement on behalf of 80 countries, condemning intimidation and reprisals, and calling on States to prioritise and support the meaningful participation of civil society at the UN. 

Director's update: Hopeful signals of human rights change

Futures thinking encourages us to identify small ‘signals of change’ which might help to identify and influence the futures that come to pass. At ISHR we’ve identified and, together with advocates and activists from around the world, helped contribute to a number of small but significant signals of positive human rights change in recent weeks.

HRC48: Reprisal cases remain high, including in current Council member States

During the interactive dialogue with the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights on the SG’s Reprisals Report, some States raised specific cases of reprisals, whilst others drew attention to the use of COVID-19 as a guise under which reprisals were committed and also raised the additional risks to human rights defenders online as a result of the pandemic.

China, UN urged to ensure release of activist Zhang Haitao

Defender Zhang Haitao's wife addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 20 September, after more than 1240 days without information about her husband's status. He is serving 19 years on 'national security'-related charges, punishing him for exercising freedom of speech.

Stay in the loop!

Would you like to be informed of future events, news, updates on our work, invitations and appeals? Please enter your email address below!