Asia in Review Archive (2019)

Nepal

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4 June 2019 

Nepal: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) voices concern over Nepalese government’s growing control on constitutional body and media

(jyk) Hong Kong-based AHRC has recently voiced its concern over Nepalese government’s attempt to pass an amendment bill that will give the government, led by National Communist Party (NCP), the discretionary power to intervene in the internal affairs of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), despite NHRC’s status as an autonomous constitutional body. NHRC was established to monitor and take independent measures against cases of human rights violation within the country, but its autonomy enshrined by the Constitution of Nepal will be undermined once the bill passes. The NCP-led government was also seen submitting the Media Council Bill that could let the government sue and impose a fine of up to one million rupees (about 9,000 USD) on medias and journalists under the charge of defamations [The Himalayan Times 1].

In similar concern over political entity’s growing influence on judicial branch, a group of lawyers have founded a new bar association called Independent National Lawyers’ Campaign (INLC) to replace the NBA (Nepal Bar Association), whose leaders are being overtly involved and loyal to the political parties. The INLC members seek to develop INLC into a neutral organization and expand its units across all regions. [The Himalayan Times 2]

28 May 2019 

Four killed and seven injured in Kathmandu bomb attack

(jk) A Maoist splinter group is suspected to have conducted a coordinated three-blast bomb attack in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, killing four people, past Sunday. The army has sealed off the area and is investigating the matter as no one has come forward yet to claim responsibility. [Nikkei Asia Review]

11 March 2019 

Nepal: Agreement with Madhesi group to end violence

(ls) Nepali Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and CK Raut, a ‘Free Madhes’ campaigner and coordinator of the Alliance for Independent Madhes, have signed an 11-point agreement, according to which the group would cease their demands for a “free” Madhes and enter mainstream politics while the government would withdraw cases against him and his followers. Raut had for the last six years been actively demanding an independent Madhes for ‘liberation’ of the Madhesi people. However, there are several Madhesi separatist groups that are not covered by this agreement. [Kathmandu Post]

11 March 2019 

Nepal: New strict legislation to regulate social media

(ls) A new law being introduced by the Nepali government will give the authorities powers to block social media platforms and remove or prosecute defamatory posts. The government has also tabled legislation that restricts civil servants from sharing their views in the media including social media sites. The Information Technology Bill would impose harsh sanctions for “improper” social media posts. The law also prohibits speeches and writing that are considered “contrary to the policies of the Government of Nepal or to undermine mutual relationship between the Government of Nepal and the people or the relationship with any foreign country”. Civil rights groups have strongly criticized the bill. [Himalayan Times]