UN calls on Nepal to respect minority voices & use force only as a last resort

Nepal Police
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Photo

A day after ethnic Tharu protesters barbarically killed seven Nepal Police personnel, the United Nations human rights office yesterday urged Nepalese authorities to ‘respect dissenting voices and seek a peaceful solution with demonstrators’.

“The rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are essential elements in the promotion of democracy and human rights,” the UN News Centre quoted Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as saying in Geneva.

Seven policemen lost their lives under horrendous circumstances on Monday, August 24. The fatalities on the side of the demonstrators remain disputed.

Senior Superintendent of Police Laxman Neupane was impaled with a spear, two inspectors were hacked to death while a senior constable was set on fire. Even more tragic was the death of a two year old who reports suggest was the son of one of the slain policemen.

Nepal Police
Death of innocence: The two year old victim of Monday’s clash between Tharuhat demonstrators and security forces. Facebook photo courtesy Sharoj Oli.

Mr Colville expressed concern at the continuing political violence in Nepal following the August 8 consensus between political parties on the re-demarcation of state boundaries in the proposed new constitution.

“There is a clear risk that the protests and violence will continue to feed off each other in the coming days unless all sides change their approach,” the UN representative warned.

The UN also called on the Nepalese government to ‘only employ force as a last resort and in full accordance with the standards laid out under international law for maintaining public order, including detailed guidelines governing the use of live ammunition’.

At the same time, the UN body urged demonstrators to carry out protests in peaceful manner. Protesters must not seek out confrontation with the security agencies, it further stated.

The UN rights office also called on the Nepal National Human Rights Commission for an impartial investigation into all ‘deaths and injuries resulting from the alleged use of disproportionate force by security personnel, as well as into the deaths of the seven security personnel killed on Monday’.

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