NEPAL: A joint statement by 14 local and international NGOs on the present situation in Nepal 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding a statement adopted by 14 local, regional and international human rights bodies and academic institutions, including the AHRC, who gathered in Bangkok, Thailand at the 4th International Criminal Court (ICC) Campaign Network Regional Meeting regarding the present situation in relation to human rights in Nepal.

We further request you to visit the website: where you can see all our documents regarding the situation in Nepal.

If you have questions or want to know more about the report, please do not hesitate to contact the AHRC.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

06 March 2005
Bangkok, Thailand

A Joint NGO Statement

Statement of concern: Eminent danger of massive human rights violations in Nepal

We, representing local, regional and international human rights bodies and academic institutions, who have gathered in Bangkok, Thailand from 5 – 6 March, 2005 at the 4thInternational Criminal Court (ICC) Campaign Network Regional Meeting, convened by the Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) are seriously concerned about the present situation in relation to human rights in Nepal.  The February 1 coup in Nepal has brought the country under the control of the military, which has undermined the rule of law and cast doubt upon Nepal’s ability to fulfill its international obligations. The fear of arrest has led large numbers of democrats, human rights workers and those who are involved in other social movements, such as students, to go underground.  Although many of these persons wish to leave the country for security reasons, heavy controls are imposed on travel. Lists are maintained at international and domestic airports, and several cases have been reported of persons either not being allowed to board planes or being removed from planes after boarding. The most recent case included members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): on 5 March 2005, three NHRC members, Commissioners Dr. Gauri Shankar Lal Das, Sushil Pyakurel and head of the protection division, Yagya Prasad Adkhikari, were barred from boarding a Bhairahawa-bound flight at Tribhuvan International Airport. Despite strong positions and actions taken by several countries, such as India, as well as the European Union and others, the establishment of total military control in Nepal is continuing through the suppression of all those who oppose the destruction of democracy within the country.  The legitimacy of the courts was already disregarded by the military prior to the coup. Now, the courts are completely powerless as even habeas corpus actions cannot be pursued with any efficiency. It is clear that the prevailing lawlessness cannot be addressed by the courts.

As a group committed to the promotion of international justice through the International Criminal Court, we are concerned about the eminent danger to the lives of human rights activists and civilians at large in Nepal.  Recent reports include an attack on 21 villages, where 300 houses were burnt, mass murder and rape took place and about 2000 people, including women and children, are now homeless. The attack was launched by a mob reported to be backed by the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA). The latest statistics of those arrested has increased to about 350 political leaders and activists, along with a number of human rights defenders, while others continue to be killed extrajudicially. These are alarming numbers and we fear that with every passing day arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and disappearances will increase. If the ongoing violations are to continue on a mass scale, which is very likely, they may amount to crimes against humanity; the very purpose of the ICC is to prevent such crimes.

— Although Nepal is not a party to the ICC, we urge the Government of Nepal to respect the spirit of the ICC, particularly with regards to the norms and standards set out by it, and remove all restrictions on the freedom of expression, assembly and movement of all citizens in Nepal.  We urge the Government of Nepal and the Maoists to put an immediate end to arbitrary detention, torture and extrajudicial killings;

— We also urge the United Nations, with all its mechanisms, including the special procedures to intervene with the relevant Nepali authorities before this situation reaches a catastrophic level. We specifically urge for a UN Envoy to be permanently present within Nepal so as to facilitate the return to democracy, and that the UN appoint a Special Rapporteur to constantly monitor the human rights situation in Nepal;

— We also urge the global human rights community to urgently intervene in the situation of Nepal.  Without pressure from the human rights community, world governments, and specifically the United Nations, the rights of the Nepali people will continue to be denied and the future of their country will continue to be at risk;

— We alert the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and the state parties to the Rome Statutes of the ICC to the present situation in Nepal, particularly to the possible occurrences of crimes against humanity.  We urge the office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and the state parties to take all feasible steps to stop the ongoing crimes that fall within the mandate of the ICC as well as to take preventive measures, by way of diplomatic channels or other means, to avoid further crimes against humanity.

Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Thailand
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Hong Kong
Asian Network for the International Criminal Court (ANICC), Bangladesh
Bangladesh Coalition for the International Criminal Court and Odhikar, Bangladesh
Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Cambodia
East Timor People’s Action, Timor Leste
ICC-India/Women’s Research and Action Group, India
Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), Indonesia
MINBYUN – Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Republic of Korea
Pakistan Coalition on the International Criminal Court, Pakistan
Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, the Philippines
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, the Philippines

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

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Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-07-2005
Countries : Nepal,
Issues : Democracy,