UN rights office alarmed by Nepal’s violation on use of force towards protestors

Alarmed by latest killings in violent clashes over the weekend in Nepal, bringing the death toll to at least 50 since protests against the new Constitution began in August, the United Nations human rights office today urged Nepalese authorities to follow international standards on use of force, respect dissenting voices and engage them in a “meaningful, inclusive and open dialogue.”

“We have been urging Nepalese authorities to ensure that existing national and international standards on the appropriate use of force are fully respected by security forces,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told journalists yesterday at the regular press briefing in Geneva.

Unfortunately, she said that these steps do not appear to have been taken and more lives have been lost, according to reports.

Moreover, “we stress that any obstruction of essential supplies and services is a serious violation of international human rights law, including the right to life,” said Ms. Shamdasani, following a report by Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission noting that the shortage of fuel, cooking gas, medicine, food and essential goods has deeply affected life in the country.

While urging all parties to engage in a meaningful, inclusive and open dialogue, she stressed the importance of respecting minority and dissenting views and ensuring their concerns are heard in order to seek a fair and sustainable resolution.

At least four people have been killed in the recent clashes in the Terai area of southern Nepal, which added to 50 deaths with many more injured. The protesters, from ethnic Madeshi groups, have demanded the Constitution to address their concerns and launched strikes along the Nepal-India border, causing shortage of life supplies and services, according to OHCHR.

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