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Tuesday 22 August 2017
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Issues

Although THRD Alliance works for a wide range of issues related to human rights violations in Terai, it has currently focused its intervention in the following issues:

Arbitrary Arrest & Detention

Arbitrary arrest and detention is one of working areas that THRD Alliance is intervening to contribute to protecting and promoting human rights in Nepal.

Arbitrarily arrest and arbitrary detention is the arrest or detention of any individual in a situation wherein there is no likelihood or evidences of the alleged crime or in such a situation where due process of law is not followed. Such arrest and detention deprives an individual of their liberty.  This is strictly prohibited into the international norms and standards.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights merely provides in article 9: 

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. 

Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights similarly states:

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be Deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

Caste-based discrimination

Caste-based discrimination or discrimination of any kind is a violation of human rights. THRD Alliance takes the issue seriously for monitoring, documentation and adopting further strategies to eliminate it, including legal aid, campaign and advocacy for policy changes.

Caste-based discrimination is a violation of international human rights law, which is still prevalent in Nepal. The continuity of caste hierarchy and the discrimination based on it leads to slavery and poverty, violence, and exclusion in economic, social and political setting.

In addition to the domestic legal framework that ensures human rights in Nepal, the country has also committed itself to relevant international treaties and conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  THRD Alliance always urge the Government of Nepal to eliminate the case based discrimination and ensure the fulfillment of international human rights obligations at domestic level.

Excessive use of force

Since its inception, THRD Alliance has been monitoring protests and use of force. Through monitoring, documentation, litigation, lobby and advocacy and other strategies, THRD Alliance has been working on the issue of use of force during demonstrations, especially in Terai, southern parts of Nepal.

As there is not any human rights convention that specifically deals with use of force by the state during demonstrations. However, the use of force leads to loss of lives and restrictions on civil and political rights of agitating communities. Hence, right to life and the restriction of civil and political rights are contextual whilst mentioning relevant international norms and standards.  Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nepal is State party, are relevant to use of force.

Right to life and security has been proclaimed in the UDHR, and the ICCPR.

Article 3 of the UDHR states:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 6 (1) of the ICCPR:

The article states: Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

In accordance with the principles embodied in UDHR and ICCPR, law enforcement officials must allow persons to participate in lawful and peaceful assemblies.

The UDHR Article 20 (1) states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

The ICCPR Article 21 also recognizes right to assembly:

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

This international norms and standards do not stop or prevent the State and law enforcement agencies from resorting to use of force during political demonstration.  However, while performing their duty, they must respect and protect the right to life guaranteed by the UDHR and ICCPR. They must act in accordance with international human rights principles and standards on the use of force. They include the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (1978) and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990).

Social Inclusion

Social inclusion is a crucial national agenda that contributes to not only ending conflicts and discrimination in Nepal but also bringing long lasting peace and and state restructuring. That is why the preamble of the Interim Constitution recognized discrimination as root cause of conflict in Nepal and proposed social inclusion as a tool to cure root cause of conflict.

The concept of social inclusion helped to end the decade-long violent political conflict in the country. The Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) signed in 2006, articulated the end of discrimination and exclusion based on caste, ethnicity and gender as the next course of action to be taken in state reforming and restructuring. Echoing the CPA, Nepal’s new Constitution promulgated on September 20, 2015,  ensures the right to participate in the structures of the State on the basis of the principle of ‘proportional inclusion. 

 

‘Right to social justice  in the new constitution states:

Socially backward women, Dalits, Adibasi, Janajati, Janajati, Madhesi, Tharu, minority groups, persons with disability, marginalized groups, Muslim, backward classes, gender and sexually minority groups, youths, peasants, laborers, the oppressed and the citizens of backward regions, and economically poor Khas Arya shall have the right to employment in state structures on the basis of the principle of proportional inclusion.

(Nepal Constitution 2015, Article 42).

However, challenges still exist when it comes to the implementation of the inclusion . Hence, THRD Alliance has been monitoring the implementation of proportional inclusion.

Stateless or Citizenship

Due to flawed citizenship laws, an estimated 4 million people are forced to live without official status and at risk of statelessness. Despite promises of reform, many people, particularly women, children born out of wedlock, or children of a refugee or naturalized parent, are ineligible for drivers’ licenses, passports, bank accounts, voting rights, higher education, and government welfare schemes.

The law makes it particularly difficult for women to secure legal proof of citizenship, especially when male family members refuse to assist them or are unavailable to do so. The citizenship provisions in the new constitution do not adequately rectify these problems, and instead raise additional hurdles for children born to a non-Nepali father.

THRD Alliance has been closely monitoring the issues of citizenship through human rights perspective. The organization makes advocacy, campaigns, and provides legal aid for facilitating to ensure equal status of all the citizenship.

Torture

Torture is an important issue that THRD Alliance has been working for to ensure protection and promotion of human rights in Nepal.

Nepal acceded to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 14 May 1991. The domestic law addressing the question of torture is limited to the Torture Compensation Act, 1996. This law however fails to meet normative standards to prevent torture. The main objective is to compensate torture victims in a very limited way, not prosecute the perpetrators.

Torture is not criminalised in Nepal. The Constitution of Nepal 2015 gurantees the right to be free from torture and mandates that torture should be punishable by law. Nevertheless, no law criminalizing torture has been adopted yet.