Jha in Geneva busy lobbying for actions against extrajudicial killings in Madhes

KATHMANDU, Nov 3: Today Supreme Court Advocate Dipendra Jha held informal discussions with representatives of different international human rights agencies and participant countries’ delegations in Geneva, Switzerland. He lobbied for actions against excessive use of force by law enforcement and extrajudicial killings during protests against the country’s new constitution.

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Advocate Dipendra Jha at Tribhuwan Airport

Jha, who flew to Switzerland on Monday, is attending the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Nepal in Geneva tomorrow (November 04, 2015).  He will be there for a week.  [Also Read What is UPR and How Does it Affect Nepal?]

According to him, he attended the meeting with Human Rights Committee(HRC) members about the implementation of the HRC recommendations. All the members of the committee agreed that Nepal always says that it has delivered justice to the victims of HR violation but in fact victims hardly realize in the real life.

“I spoke about how the Nepali government ignored the Supreme Court stay order on not to use excessive force in ongoing protests in Terai,” Jha told Madhesi Youth.  On the day, the supreme court issued the stay order, police killed a young man in Terai. Similarly, there is low level of implementation of the NHRC recommendations particularly on prosecution of human rights violators, he informed Madhesi Youth.

As a result of his lobby and discussions,  here is the submission to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review concerning the human rights situation in Nepal, which covers Excessive Use of Force by Security Forces, Impunity of Security Forces, Freedom of Expression and Caste-based Discrimination among others.

In a surprising move, security personnel as reportedly ordered by the Home Ministry , thrashed locals and cadres of  staging sit-in protests at Nepal-India border of Birgunj despite positive talks held between the government and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on Sunday. Twenty-year-old Ashish Kumar Ram, a local of Raxaul-11, India, was killed while two dozen protesters sustained injuries when police clashed with agitating Madhesis in Birgunj on Monday afternoon.

Doctors at the Narayani sub-regional hospital, confirmed that he was brought in dead and had received bullet in his head. According to Ram’s family, he had come to Birgunj for shopping when the incident took place. The Indian national was killed in the clash between police and local protestors at Shankaracharya Gate in the Nepali territory near Nepal-India border.

With his death, a total of 46 people, including 10 security personnel, have been killed during the demonstration in different parts of the country. Among them, all the killings, except three in Surkhet and one in Jumla, took place across Terai Madhes.

Talking to Madhesi Youth, Jha termed the state’s attacks over Madhesi protesters as a deliberate attempt to derail positive talks with UDMF. “It was a planned provocation,” he said.

Meanwhile, issuing a press release on Monday,  Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance (THRD-Alliance), condemned the excessive use of force by law enforcement in peaceful demonstrations staged by Madhesi protesters while removing the blockage.

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THRD-Alliance Chairperson Jha, currently in Geneva, reiterated that he will  present cases of serious human rights violations including recent brutal killings of unarmed civilians (Madhesis) by state security personnel in Tarai. He was actively involved in documenting cases of human rights violations across Terai region for national, regional and international level human rights agencies.

Tomorrow (On Nov 4), the UN Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group will examine Nepal’s human rights records.

According to Human Rights activist Jha, there are three human rights reports — reports of Human Rights Watchdog (HRW), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and THRD Alliance — which present clear evidence on excessive use of force by law enforcement and extrajudicial killings of Madhesis during protests against the country’s new constitution.

He conceded that Nepal Police and Nepal Armed Police Force have violated Local Administration Act-2028, Clause (6), sub-clause (b). This clause prohibits security personnel from shooting at civilians during crowd control above knee, in accordance with Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“The police, however, has not followed these procedures. The way the law enforcement has killed Madhesis proves that the state is racist, ” Jha told Madhesi Youth.

Questions about serious human rights violations have already been included in the seven different countries — Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. Read a partial list of  here advanced questions asked by the UN member nations listed above.  

Nepal is one of the 14 States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 2 to 13 November.  This is the second time that Nepal’s human rights record is going to be examined. Nepal’s first UPR took place on 25 January 2011.

The delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Kamal Thapa, is representing Nepal for the UPR. Earlier Mr. Agni Prasad Kharel, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs was scheduled to lead the Nepalese delegation to Geneva.

An investigation of extrajudicial killings of Madhesis and excessive use of force by law enforcement in Madhes through an international level commission will be sought as one of the recommendations in the UPR.

The three country representatives serving as rapporteurs (“troika”) for the review of Nepal are:  Latvia, Morocco and Qatar. The webcast of the session will be telecasted at http://webtv.un.org. The UPR Working Group is scheduled to adopt the recommendations made to Nepal at 17.30 on November 6.