Index number: ASA 31/2802/2015 ,
Dear Prime Minister Oli,
Amnesty International congratulates you on your appointment as Prime Minister and is seeking your urgent attention to a number of concerns regarding the new Constitution, adopted on 20 September 2015.
Having long called for constitutional grounding of human rights protection, we are pleased to see a Charter that has a strong articulation of key civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights and norms. A notable example is that for the first time in Nepal and in South Asia, the rights of gender and/or sexual minorities have been afforded constitutional protection.
We are also encouraged to see that a few of the recommendations Amnesty International made to the Constitutional Assembly as part of the two-week public consultation on the draft Consultation in July 2015 have been incorporated into the final text of the Constitution. We for instance note that our recommendation to remove the provision criminalising sex-selective abortion was accepted.
Amnesty International regrets, however, that the new Constitution still has some major human rights shortcomings despite recommendations to the Constitutional Assembly from the National Human Rights Commission, civil society and the public to align the text of the draft Constitution with international human rights standards. In particular, the rights of women, ethnic groups and marginalised communities, such as Dalits, have not been clearly and sufficiently protected.
Furthermore, the proposed federalist structure in the Constitution, rejected by ethnic groups who see the new federal boundaries as denying them political representation, resulted in peaceful and sometimes violent protests in the Terai. Nepali security forces resorted to excessive, disproportionate or unnecessary force in several clashes with protestors. As of early October, while protests continue, scores have been injured and at least 33 protestors and 10 police were killed in violation of the right to life, which we deeply regret is not protected in the Constitution.
Since the Constituent Assembly adopted the new Constitution, your government has stated that it would be willing to make amend it to address the demands of protesting groups. We attach a non-exhaustive list of concerns based on an analysis of a non-official English translation.
We urge you to bring about a number of important amendments to ensure the human rights of all people of Nepal are guaranteed in the Constitution. Furthermore, we urge you to push for amendments to existing laws and the adoption of news laws to give full effect to the rights protected in the Constitution.
We are also bringing these concerns to the attention of the member states of the Human Rights Council participating in Nepal’s Universal Periodic Review on 4 November, and we urge your government delegation to the meeting to confirm its commitment to bringing about these important amendments to ensure the fullest protection of human rights in Nepal at the earliest opportunity.
South Asia Research Director
Amnesty International urges the new Prime Minister of Nepal to bring about a number of important amendments to ensure the human rights of all people of Nepal are guaranteed in the Constitution, adopted on 20 September 2015. Furthermore, it urges him to push for amendments to existing laws and the adoption of news laws to give full effect to the rights protected in the Constitution.
Amnesty International has suggested that the following articles and provisions in the Nepal constitution be amended to guarantee equal rights for everyone.
Article 10(1), Article 11(3), Article 11(5), Article 14, Right to Life, Right to Freedom, Article 18(3), Article 24, Article 24(4), Article 40(1), Article 22(1), Article 22(2), Article 26(3), Article 20(4), Article 23, Article 25, Article 31, Article 33, Article 34, Article 35, Article 35(4), Article 36, Article 37, Article 43, Article 38(6), Article 38(42), Article 39, Article 276, Article 273(11)
For a full list and description of specific suggested amendments, see the report by Amnesty International.