NEPAL: Indigenous peoples submit complaint to the UN on violations of religious and cultural rights in Surkhet

1 October 2013

Indigenous peoples’ organizations have submitted a complaint to the United Nations concerning the violations of religious and cultural rights of indigenous peoples due to denial of installation of Buddha idol in Kakre Bihar, a monastery in Surkhet district of mid-western Nepal.

Representatives of indigenous peoples’ and Buddhist organizations, on Monday, emailed the complaint in an urgent communication to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in the field of cultural rights and on freedom of religion or belief. The complaint details obstructions by the Government to install the idol even after fulfilling all necessary procedures, including police intervention on the rally taken out on 25 May 2013 for installing the idol. More than 50 devotees were reportedly injured or looted of their belongings in the brutal police assault.

Despite holding number of meetings with the concerned authorities, including Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and peaceful protest programs, the Government has not taken any measure to resolve the dispute. Rather there has been indirect threat to prevent installing idol in the area at any cost. This has violated religious and cultural rights of the indigenous peoples as well as the principle of secularism as declared in the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007.

The complainants have requested the Special Rapporteurs to recommend the Government to permit installation of idol in the area, halt violations of and respect religious and cultural rights of indigenous peoples. Further, they have urged the Rapporteurs to recommend the United Nations and other concerned agencies to facilitate the Government to respect those rights.

Click here to read the complaint


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