Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nepali government cracks down opposition ahead of elections

Last Thursday the Nepali government arrested more than 100 political leaders and civil society activists , which raised fears that violence and human rights abuses will have priory ahead of forthcomin elections. Security forces are reported to have permission to shoot anybody violating curfew at night.

Since last February 2005, when King Gyanendra assumed all executive authority with the army’s support, fundamental rights – including freedom of assembly and expression, the right to information and the right to be free from arbitrary detention have been suspended until further notice.

Today Asia is the only continent whithout regional system of human rights protection and regional human rights tribunal. Nepal is one of few Asian countires who ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1991 without substantial reservations. It needs therefore to abide by its international obligation contained in especially Article 2 and 26 recognize that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to protection from discrimination on any ground, and ensure the following articles are respected: Article 22 of the ICCPR, which states that everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, Article 21 of the ICCPR protects the freedom of peaceful assembly, Article 19 of the ICCPR protects the “freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media.”

Asian countries are not on other planet and its leaders need to recognize that human rights are universal and that people are equal before law and finally stop using cultural relativism for their own political and economic gains.

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