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Rights groups urge Nepal to end crackdown on Tibet protesters

[JURIST] Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy websites] on Tuesday sent a joint letter [text; press release] to Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, urging an end to the violent crackdown by Nepalese government security forces against Tibetan protesters and accusing the Nepalese government of preemptively detaining Tibetans to prevent the assembly of protests. Last week, HRW reported that the Nepalese government has been threatening Tibetan protesters with deportation to China [press release].

Noting that Nepal is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [text], the groups wrote:

China has been cited by the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for its abuses of political dissidents in China, and those who have been protesting Chinese rule in Tibet will almost certainly be treated as dissidents. As a party to the ICCPR and the Convention Against Torture, Nepal must uphold Article 3, which prohibits the deportation of individuals to countries where they may face torture. Customary international law also prohibits refoulement to such situations.

The government of Nepal should immediately restore the rights of freedom of assembly, expression, and movement, by allowing Tibetans to go about their daily lives and carry out peaceful protests without fear of arrests or threat of deportation. Should the Nepal police continue to engage in conduct that was condemned by all of the current governing parties, Nepali human rights defenders, and the international community, during the People’s Movement of 2005-2006, it will betray its own record of restoring in April 2006 fundamental civil and political rights.
Last Friday, over 100 protesters rallied near a United Nations facility in Kathmandu, demonstrating against China's recent crackdown on pro-Tibet protests [BBC backgrounder]. At least 400 protesters were arrested [JURIST report] earlier in the week by Nepalese security forces at the UN headquarters. AP has more.

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