Nepal: Amnesty International requests urgent audience with King

Amnesty International’s Secretary General Irene Khan said:

"Our first meetings with human rights defenders have highlighted a picture of insecurity, deepened by uncertainty in the wake of the state of emergency, and fear, particularly for those who remain inaccessible in remote parts of the country.

"We are here to express our solidarity and support to them, and to explore practical means of ensuring their protection and that of other groups who are at risk."

Amnesty International delegates are visiting Nepalgunj and Biratnagar to gauge the impact of the state of emergency, and of the Maoist nationwide ‘bandh’, outside Kathmandu.

The delegation will also meet with the Commander of the Army, the Chief Justice, government ministers, senior officials, the National Human Rights Commission and members of the international community.

Amnesty International has also requested an audience with His Majesty King Gyanendra.

Irene Khan continued:

"We would like to seek assurances from the King that his Government will take immediate, urgent and concrete action to protect human rights."

The delegation will also meet with human rights defenders, journalists and political leaders in Kathmandu. Amnesty International is seeking permission to visit political leaders under house arrest, and detainees, including human rights activist Krishna Pahadi who was arrested on 9 February.

Background

An Amnesty International delegation, led by Secretary General Irene Khan, arrived yesterday in Kathmandu.

Amnesty International’s mission will assess the impact of the declaration of the state of emergency on fundamental human rights, particularly the threat to human rights defenders, the clampdown on the media, and the arrest of political leaders, students and activists.

The visit will also focus on the massive human rights abuses arising from the conflict between the Maoists and the security forces, which has been characterised by a pattern of killings, detentions, torture, "disappearances", and impunity.

The organisation is concerned about possible widespread human rights abuses, including the killing of civilians, committed by the Maoists during the ‘bandh’.

The delegation will present its findings to the media in Kathmandu, and then in Bangkok. Broadcast media: please note a B-roll will be available in Bangkok.

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