Nepal: Amnesty UK Director appeals for UK action to expose abuses

She urged the UK to press for a strong resolution at the UN Commission on Human Rights, meeting in Geneva 14 March – 22 April, to ensure that the UN sends an investigator to Nepal to report on the human rights violations taking place in the country

Kate Allen said:

"People are being silenced in Nepal. The government has already detained its political enemies; now the media is being gagged and human rights workers threatened.

"Newspapers are told to toe the line, radio stations are told to play only music. Human rights lawyers are threatened and their phones tapped.

"Human rights abuses in the country – abductions, torture and killings - are rife, but attempts to expose them are being crushed.

"The UK and international community must take action. Britain must press for a strong resolution at the UN Commission on Human Rights, to send a rapporteur to see what is really happening. It should offer protection to those who are under threat."

Political leaders, students, human rights activists, journalists and trade unionists in Nepal were arrested following the declaration of the state of emergency on 1 February. While some leaders have been released, more are being arrested, particularly at the district level.

There is strict media censorship enforced by the army and a total clampdown on political dissent. A number of leading human rights activists, journalists and trade union leaders are in hiding or have fled the country.

Amnesty international has documented increasing human rights abuses by both sides in Nepal’s civil conflict. Illegal arrests and detentions, as well as torture of detainees are widespread.

In the second half of 2004, reports of extra-judicial killings increased. The CPN (Maoist) has abducted schoolChildren's rights, teachers and workers for political education sessions, torturing them to comply with their orders.

Human rights defenders are also under attack by the CPN (Maoist). Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are suffering from violence, sexual abuse and discrimination.

Impunity for human rights abuses is a key factor fuelling the human rights crisis. The government and military fail to investigate abuses committed by security forces, who regularly arrest and detain suspects illegally and undermine judicial processes, particularly those relating to habeas corpus.

During visits last month to Nepalgunj, Biratnagar and Kathmandu jail, Amnesty International delegates met recent victims of human rights abuse by the security forces as well as the Maoists, including rape survivors, child soldiers and torture victims.

View latest press releases