KATHMANDU, Sept 8: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged the government not to pose obstruction to people’s rights to participate in peaceful protests.
Issuing a press statement on Tuesday, the NHRC said a press statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) on September 3 and 5 to curb peaceful protest had violated people’s rights to participate in peaceful protests. "The press releases seem to have violated the right of citizens to participate in peaceful demonstrations," the national human rights watchdog said in the statement.
The NHRC has reminded that Article 17 of the Constitution of Nepal, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, 1996, of which Nepal is a party, guarantees freedom of expression to all persons.
"Therefore, the NHRC urges the Government of Nepal to refrain from issuing any instruction, press releases or activity that impose direct or indirect restrictions on such acts, respecting freedom of expression within the framework of the Constitution and international human rights law," the NHRC said.
The NHRC, however, has urged protesters to be sensitive to the friendly relations with the allies and make their protest programs peaceful. The home ministry had earlier issued a statement regarding the protests staged by a section of people over the disappearance of Jayasingh Dhami from Darchula while crossing the Mahakali River via Tuin on July 30 and India’s denial to take up the issue to punish the SSB personnel involved in cutting off the cable crossing. The statement was issued also in the wake of the protests launched by a section of political parties and civil society groups against the MCC agreements.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has also objected to the statements issued by the home ministry. The FNJ in a statement issued on Tuesday said that the two separate statements were against the basic tenets of Nepal's constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression to citizens. “The FNJ is clear that the government is trying to violate the right to freedom of expression under the pretext of relations with allies. The Nepali press is serious about what to write and what not to write about relations with allies.”
Stating that it is violating the constitutional right of the press and stifling the right of citizens to assemble or demonstrate freely, the FNJ has demanded immediate correction of the statement issued by the MoHA.