Police used excessive force against civil society members and human rights activists
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January28-

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-002-2021

January 26, 2021

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is bringing to your attention a disturbing incident where the Nepal Police used excessive force against people. Water cannons were even used to disperse peaceful protesters. They were protesting against the dissolution of the Parliament on December 20, 2020, by the Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the Nepal Police used excessive force against human rights activists and civil society members. This group also included AHRC’s local contacts, protesting against the dissolution of Parliament on December 20, 2020.

According to our informants, certain facts alerted the mass of civil society members starting their protest against the dissolution of the Parliament by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The move was considered unconstitutional since 26 December 2020. Mr. KP Sharma Oli recommended the dissolution of the Parliament, which was promptly approved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. Nepal’s entire political class, barring KP Sharma Oli, and Nepali civil society, including constitutional experts, overwhelmingly believe that the move is unconstitutional and illegitimate. Some 13-writ petitions were filed at the Supreme Court of Nepal. Hearings are on-going. In their writ petitions before the Supreme Court, the politicians, lawyers and activists were questioning whether it is the legitimate right of the leader to dissolve the Parliament and order new elections.

The Government had ruthlessly repressed a peaceful protest held on 25 January 2021 during the on-going, mass civil protest. Dozens of people were injured in the Police attack. Among some six injured were Sangharsh Dahal, Kumar Bartaula, CN Tharu, Swarnim Dinesh, Ram NareshYadav, Professor Ramesh Bhattarai and others. They received medical treatment at the Kathmandu Model Hospital, Helping Hands and the Himal Hospital. Ms. Mohana Ansari, former spokes person of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was similarly injured during the Police brutality.

The peaceful march was conducted at about 2 PM from Kamalpokhari to the Prime Minister’s residence located at Baluwatar. The peaceful assembly encompassed street drama and poetry recitals organized at Bhatbhateni, Kathmandu. The march pass was also organized with the aim of making heard the peoples’ voices of resistance. They opposed by protesting against the Government’s initiative in constructing concrete structures to destroy the historical value and traditional architectural structure and importance of Kamalpokhari. Civil society members marched towards Baluwatar (the Prime Minister’s residence) after symbolically rubbing the soil of Kamalpokhari on their foreheads.

The Police stopped the protesters 500 meters ahead of the Prime Minister’s residence. Dr. Govinda KC, Khagendra Sangraula, Ms. Mohana Ansari and Narayan Wagle were addressing the masses there. Suddenly, at about 3:30 PM, without warning, the Police Force from the Baluwatar Circle, struck the protesters with bamboo batons and used water cannons to disperse them. At least dozens of protesters were man-handled and injured by the Police including Ms. Mohana Ansari, former spokesperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Mr. Narayan Wagle, former Editor-in-Chief of the Kantipur Daily. Witnesses have reported hearing specific orders to target members of the civil society.

In recent incidents, of numerous Police charges on peaceful protesters, there are worrying signs of a shrinking civic space and freedom of peaceful protests in Nepal. Observers note that Mr. KP Sharma Oli is becoming authoritarian in his behavior. He targets prominent, civil society members and the media to control civic space and muzzle the people’s voices.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) condemns Police actions involving the striking of civil society peaceful protesters on their heads, with batons. The Police Force has been known to pelt stones at protesters. It appears that the Police in Nepal are regressing in nature. They use medieval methods such as pelting stones and excessive force in order to maintain peace and order in society. They forestall rather than making use of modern methods of crowd control practiced worldwide.

We urge our readers to send the following letter to the Authorities mentioned below.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER

SAMPLE LETTER

NEPAL: Police used excessive force against civil society members and human rights activists

Name of victims: Civil society members

Name of alleged perpetrators: Government of Nepal

Date of incident: 20 December 2020 to the present

Place of incident: Nepal

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the Nepal Police use of excessive force against human rights activists and civil society members. This group also included AHRC’s local contacts, protesting against the dissolution of Parliament on December 20, 2020.

According to our informants, certain facts alerted the mass of civil society members starting their protest against the dissolution of the Parliament by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The move was considered unconstitutional since 26 December 2020. Mr. KP Sharma Oli recommended the dissolution of the Parliament, which was promptly approved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. Nepal’s entire political class, barring KP Sharma Oli, and Nepali civil society, including constitutional experts, overwhelmingly believe that the move is unconstitutional and illegitimate. Some 13-writ petitions were filed at the Supreme Court of Nepal. Hearings are on-going. In their writ petitions before the Supreme Court, the politicians, lawyers and activists were questioning whether it is the legitimate right of the leader to dissolve the Parliament and order new elections.

The Government had ruthlessly repressed a peaceful protest held on 25 January 2021 during the on-going, mass civil protest. Dozens of people were injured in the Police attack. Among some six injured were Sangharsh Dahal, Kumar Bartaula, CN Tharu, Swarnim Dinesh, Ram NareshYadav, Professor Ramesh Bhattarai and others. They received medical treatment at the Kathmandu Model Hospital, Helping Hands and the Himal Hospital. Ms. Mohana Ansari, former spokesperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was similarly injured during the Police brutality.

The peaceful march was conducted at about 2 PM from Kamalpokhari to the Prime Minister’s residence located at Baluwatar. The peaceful assembly encompassed street drama and poetry recitals organized at Bhatbhateni, Kathmandu. The march pass was also organized with the aim of making heard the peoples’ voices of resistance. They opposed by protesting against the Government’s initiative in constructing concrete structures to destroy the historical value and traditional architectural structure and importance of Kamalpokhari. Civil society members marched towards Baluwatar (the Prime Minister’s residence) after symbolically rubbing the soil of Kamalpokhari on their foreheads.

The Police stopped the protesters 500 meters ahead of the Prime Minister’s residence. Dr. Govinda KC, Khagendra Sangraula, Ms. Mohana Ansari and Narayan Wagle were addressing the masses there. Suddenly, at about 3:30 PM, without warning, the Police Force from the Baluwatar Circle, struck the protesters with bamboo batons and used water cannons to disperse them. At least dozens of protesters were man-handled and injured by the Police including Ms. Mohana Ansari, former spokesperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Mr. Narayan Wagle, former Editor-in-Chief of the Kantipur Daily. Witnesses have reported hearing specific orders to target members of the civil society.

In recent incidents, of numerous Police charges on peaceful protesters, there are worrying signs of a shrinking civic space and freedom of peaceful protests in Nepal. Observers note that Mr. KP Sharma Oli is becoming authoritarian in his behavior. He targets prominent, civil society members and the media to control civic space and muzzle the people’s voices.

I condemn the police actions involving the striking of civil society peaceful protesters on their heads, with batons. The Police Force has been known to pelt stones at protesters. It appears that the Police in Nepal are regressing in nature. They use medieval methods such as pelting stones and excessive force in order to maintain peace and order in society. They forestall rather than making use of modern methods of crowd control practiced worldwide.

I look forward to your prompt action in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

……………….

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli
Caretaker Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers of Nepal
Singh Durbar, Kathmandu
P.O. Box: 23312
NEPAL
Tel: +977 1 4211000
Fax: +977 1 4211086
Email: info@opmcm.gov.np

2. Mr. Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’
Caretaker Home Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Singh Durbar, Kathmandu
NEPAL
Fax: +977 1 421-1257, 421-1286
Email: gunaso@moha.gov.np

3. Mr. Bed Prasad Bhattarai
Secretary
National Human Rights Commission
Pulchowk, Lalitpur
NEPAL
Fax: +977 1 55 47973
Tel: +977 1 5010015
E-mail: complaints@nhrcnepal.org or nhrc@nhrcnepal.org

4. Mr. Agni Prasad Kharel
Attorney General
Office of Attorney General
Ramshah Path, Kathmandu
NEPAL
Tel: +977 1 4240210, +977 1 4262548, +977 1 4262394
Fax: +977 1 4262582 / 4218051
Email: info@attorneygeneral.gov.np

5. Mr. Shailesh Thapa Kshetri
Inspector-General of Police
Police Head Quarters
Naxal, Kathmandu
NEPAL
Fax: +977 1 4415593
Tel: +977 1 4412432
Email: phqigs@nepalpolice.gov.np

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Program
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia

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