UN takes its indirect anti-blockade pressure on India to another level

Ban Ki Moon
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon

At a time when Nepalese living across the world as well as humanitarian organisations working on the ground in Nepal are saying enough is enough, the United Nations has raised the issue of Indian blockade on its border with Nepal for a second time in less than two weeks.

It is believed the two statements within such a short span of time clearly indicates the growing unease among international community about the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Nepal. There are already signs people are losing their lives as a result of the blockade, specially because the blockade does not appear to distinguish life-saving medical supplies from other less important but essential commodities.

Without mentioning ‘India’, secretary general Ban Ki-moon has urged on ‘all sides’ to lift ‘restrictions without delay’. The statement issued on Friday, has, once again called on (India) to respect Nepal’s ‘right to transit’.

India, on its part, claims the blockade is the result of Madhesi activists staging violent protests along border points due to which Indian trucks are unable to enter Nepal. Dozens of Madhesi activists have lost their lives as they continue agitating against a new constitution which they believe discriminates them against people of Pahadi origin, the hill people. Madhesis, the Nepalese of Indian origin, reside in the southern plains districts of Nepal.

“The secretary general underlines his growing concern over the blocking of essential supplies on the Nepal-India border. He is alarmed by reports of the obstruction, and destruction, of life-saving medical supplies and the continued impact on humanitarian operations,” the statement said ahead of the planned protests by Madhesi activists on November 21.

Ban Ki-moon stressed on the ‘importance of dialogue and non-violence, as well as respect for peaceful protest and the freedom of assembly’.

Saying the United Nations is committed to Nepal’s efforts to build a democratic, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous future, the secretary general has urged on all sides to resolve their difference in a peaceful and flexible manner.

This story has been edited for clarity.

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