Welcome to the weekly update on human rights in Nepal.
This week’s roundup [July 2-8, 2018] mainly covers a follow-up of last round up: – Arrest of Poudel to save life of hunger striker Ganga Maya and to serve justice to her son and husband; and the government authorities’ continued rejection to the UN Fund -, a paramount human rights concern – Supreme Court’s stay order not to implement the govt’s decision on restricting public area for demonstration, arrest of human rights defenders and demonstrators protesting the government decision -, and finally a wake-up call – the government authorities need to learn from the monsoon floods of last week and last year and act on lessons for effective response to the upcoming flood this year.
The below is the summary in brief for the last week’s updates on human rights in Nepal.
Pressure from human rights community leads to main suspect’s arrest, facilitates to save Ganga Maya’s life
Thanks to the domestic and international human rights community’s pressure, the government arrested Chhabilal Poudel, the main suspect in the 2004 murder of Krishna Prasad Adhikari of Fujel, Gorkha. His arrest is likely to facilitate in saving the life of Ganga Maya Adhikari, who has been on hunger strike for more than a month. Poudel’s arrest was her main demand.
On July 8, Poudel surrendered to the Supreme Court. He was sent to Dillibazaar Prison after he pleaded before the Supreme Court to remain in custody while on trial.
Earlier in December 2015, the Supreme Court revoked the 2014 decision of Chitwan District Court, which ordered Poudel’s release on bail.
Mandira Sharma, one of prominent human rights activists, writes on her Facebook
It is good to hear that one of the alleged perpetrators in Krishna Prasad Adhikari’s case, whom the Supreme Court had ordered to be detained while awaiting trial, has surrendered!!! His arrest was the main demand of Ganga Maya’s hunger strike this time. This will help to keep her alive to see the day and feel justice being finally done to her son and to her husband. Saving Ganga Maya is saving the voice for justice. Thank you, everyone, for all your efforts and solidarity.
Parliament now rejects UN support after Supreme Court
The Federal Parliament of the Government of Nepal has decided not to accept any grants from foreign sources, including those of the United Nations. The decision of the Federal Parliament Secretariat follows the Supreme Court’s rejection of the UNDP’s fund under a rule of law project in Nepal.
Don’t ban demonstration and protest rallies at Maitighar: Supreme Court to Govt
In response to a writ filed at the Supreme Court on July 5, a single bench of SC Justice Ishwor Prasad Khatiwada issued an interim order on July 6. The Supreme Court directed the government to not implement its recent decision to ban demonstrations and protest rallies at Maitighar Mandala until July 13, and also summoned the defendant and petitioner to appear before the court on July 13.
In the writ filed at the Supreme Court, Senior Advocate Dinesh Tripathi argued that the ban was unconstitutional and against international human rights laws. It has violated the fundamental right to peaceful protests and freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution. Click HERE to find the writ.
Arrest of Human rights activists protesting the govt’s decision to declare restricted zones for demonstration
Earlier on July 5, police arrested human rights activists and other demonstrators staging a protest against the government’s decision to impose a ban on demonstrating in Shanti Batika and Maitighar Mandala, declaring them restricted zones for protests.
WAKE UP CALL
Last week’s floods send a wake-up call for effective response
Last week’s floods and landslides induced by the onset of this year’s monsoon once again hit Nepal, and mostly the Terai region, causing a significant amount of damage and loss of human lives and livelihood. As per the government’s figures, the monsoon flood and landslide has claimed the lives of 26 persons in 6 days across the country (Banke:4, Dang: 1, Bardiya: 1, Kailali: 1, Chitwan:1, Makwanpur: 2, Parsa: 2, Bara: 1, Sarlahi: 2, Mahottari: 1, Udaypur: 1, Siraha: 1, Rolpa: 3, Sindhuli: 2, Kathmandu: 1, and Tanahun: 2)
The monitoring by human rights organizations and media reports reveals that the people affected in the areas were not satisfied with the government’s response. The rescue and relief operations seemed slow and insufficient. Their expectations from the local and provincial governments under the newly enforced federal setup were high but people felt led down.
Thankfully, the weather has started clearing up since July 3.
Last year, an estimated 450,000 people from 31 out of 75 districts were affected by flooding and landslides. The southern Terai region was the hardest hit among all other regions due to floods, with the loss of 43 human lives and the damage of an estimated 32,000 houses. Districts in central and eastern Terai had the highest reported impact. Flooding is not new to the Terai districts of Nepal. The annual monsoon flood adds to the region’s woes, causing significant damage and loss to human lives and livelihood. However, the trend of responses to annual flood has shown tardy, insufficient and inefficient.
However, the monsoon flooding of last week and last year should be taken as a wakeup call by the government. A newly published report by Practical Action – Nepal flood 2017: Wake up call for effective preparedness and response – identifies the most useful lessons to take forward, and what could now be done differently to lessen the risks of future floods.
- The scale and extent of the 2017 flood were severe.
- Early warning systems were instrumental but inadequate for flash floods.
- A system linking forecasts to preparedness was missing.
- Channelized rescue and relief operations could not be implemented effectively.
- Local capacity is crucial in an emergency.
- Mainstreaming of DRR into development is necessary.
- Public awareness on flood risks and warnings is crucial.
The report claims that a critical review – that is, reflecting and building on lessons from past flood events along with institutional memory – is seriously lacking, particularly across government entities. Identifying lessons and learning from past events is critical in order to recognize the simple lapses that can be avoided and solutions that can immediately be put into effect.