Saturday, December 10, 2005

Over 100 activists arrested on Human Rights Day

Kathmandu Dec 10-As International Human Rights Day is being observed around the world, Nepal Police have arrested over 130 rights activists and professionals while they were taking part in a peaceful demonstration calling for restoration of peace and democracy in the country Saturday afternoon.

With the human rights organisations announcing to disobey the government’s prohibitory orders, the local administration has deployed large number of security personnel around Ratna Park area, well before the programme schedule on Saturday. The government had declared Ratna Park as restricted area, considering the popularity of the place among political parties for staging demonstrations in recent times.

Human rights defenders are staging a rally from Tripureshwar at 2 p.m. this afternoon, marking the 57th International Human Rights Day. The participants of the rally are scheduled to converge at Ratna Park for an assembly. However, scuffle between security personnel and demonstrators is anticipated with the government imposing restriction on converging in the area

Police intervened into the rally when the rights activists tried to enter into the Ratna Park in the city centre, which is declared as restricted area by the government.

A petition is pending at the Supreme Court that challenges the government’s decision to declare Ratna Park, among others, as the restricted area.

Activists and professionals chanted slogans denouncing police intervention as police used water canons on peaceful demonstrators in the month of December.

Noted rights activists Krishna Pahadi, coordinator of the Citizens Movement for Peace and Democracy Dr. Devendra Raj Panday, president of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) Bishnu Nisthuri and rights activist Malla K Sundar are among those arrested during the protest.
A group of activists later joined the demonstration at Ratna Park-Bhotahity corner. They were also taken into custody by the police.

Police also used water canons to disperse the demonstrators, eyewitnesses said.

The detained protestors were taken to two different police posts at Singha Durbar and Maharajgunj. Those detained at the police barrack include president of NGO Federation of Nepal Dr. Arjun Karki, president of Human Rights Alliance Nepal Gauri Pradhan, lawyer Mrs. Sapana Pradhan Malla and chairman of Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC) Subodh Raj Pyakurel.

Right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the country’s constitution as well as international human rights principles.

In a message on the human rights day today, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Niranjan Thapa said the royal government was committed to uphold human rights principles in the country.

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