Kathmandu: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville on Tuesday expressed concern over reports from Nepal of continuing political violence, saying a change of approach was the need of the hour. A day after seven security personnel and three protesters were reportedly killed in Nepal, Colville said there was a clear risk that the protests and violence would continue to feed off each other in the coming days unless all sides change their approach.
On Tuesday, western Nepal remained tense with curfew imposed in several parts of the country and some districts declared riot-affected areas. The victims included the two-year-old son of a police officer killed in Monday’s violence in Tikapur, Kailai while protesters demanded a separate Tharu state. This is in addition to the deaths of five protesters during widespread demonstrations since an August 8 agreement by political parties on redrawing internal state boundaries.
“The agreement was the product of extended negotiations to draw up a new constitution further to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the 10-year internal conflict in 2006. Since the political agreement was reached, increasingly violent protests and strikes against the proposed delineation have taken place throughout the country,” said Colville in a statement. The rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are essential elements in the promotion of democracy and human rights, he said, adding that likewise, protests should be carried out in a peaceful manner. “We urge the government of Nepal to create a climate where minority or dissenting views or beliefs are respected, and security forces 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,” Colville added. “Moreover, protesters should not pursue violent confrontations with the security services,” he said.
Urging political leaders and protesters to sit down together to find a peaceful solution to the current situation before the rising violence spirals out of control, the UN high commissioner said: “We fully support the call of the Nepal National Human Rights Commission for an independent, thorough and 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.”