Legal prohibition on cow-slaughter in Nepal infringes indigenous peoples’ rights, UN experts told

Two Nepali non-governmental organizations have submitted an urgent communication to UN rights experts informing that legal prohibition on cow-slaughter in Nepal infringes indigenous peoples’ right to freedom of religion and cultural rights and threatens the secularity of the Nepali state.

Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples and National Coalition Against Racial Discrimination sent in the joint communication on Friday to four UN Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression the Field of Cultural Rights, and the Freedom of Religion or Belief.

“The communication is submitted to raise the issue of the continued prosecution of indigenous peoples under Nepal’s law against cow-slaughter—a law deeply rooted and wholly justified by Hindu (and therefore non-secular principles) and one which historically has been used to carry out the State’s forced cultural assimilation of indigenous peoples and to forge a homogenous identity for Nepali citizens,” the NGOs write.

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UN rights experts apprised of violation of rights of indigenous Pradhan Newars for construction of a mega business complex

Kathmandu, 9 Feb

Two non-governmental organizations have submitted an urgent communication to UN rights experts alleging that a Nepali private company has unlawfully acquired the communal trust lands of indigenous Pradhan Newar community of Kathmandu to construct a mega business complex. As a result, the religious and cultural customs and traditions of Pradhan Newars based on the pond and its embankment lands have been devastated and thus their cultural rights and rights to cultural rights and rights to lands and resources violated, the communication reads.

Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples and National Coalition Against Racial Discrimination jointly submitted the communication to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in the field of cultural rights on Monday. They have urged the Special Rapporteurs to correspond with the Government of Nepal about the need to take immediate action to defend, protect and promote the rights of the indigenous Pradhan Newars to their land, resources, sacred places and culture. More

Report on Human Rights Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh in 2013

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Bangladesh often affirms its commitment to promote and protect human rights through its unequivocal pledge to uphold the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, international peace and security, respect for international law and rejection of colonialism and racism. However, different state agencies of Bangladesh have been directly engaged in interfering with the enjoyment of the human rights of indigenous peoples enshrined in the international laws for long, let alone the state authorities preventing violations of these rights by state agencies and other non-state actors. During the second cycle of review under the UPR mechanism on Bangladesh held at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 April 2013, for example, the government of Bangladesh provided incomplete and inaccurate information on implementation of the CHT Accord and constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples to the UPR session, which has proved non-compliance attitude of government’s commitment to the international human rights mechanisms. More

Nepal’s CIAA acts on complaint regarding access to traditional water sources of indigenous community in Gorkha

1 October 2013

In response to an informal complaint regarding obstructions to access traditional sources of water for indigenous community in Gorkha district in western Nepal, Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has informed that complaint has been submitted to the concerned authorities.

Indigenous Gurung and Magar people in Bakrang village of the district have been denied access to freely use two major traditional sources of water located in public land for years now. The public land was sold under individual title in collaboration of few locals and land registration and measurement officials in 2008. The landowner, without information to the locals, began diverting sources for selling water to another in mid-2012 to which the locals protested and the diversion stopped. More

Indigenous peoples demand to stop army mobilization in Nepal’s Makalu Barun National Park

27 Sep 2013

Local indigenous peoples and their organizations have demanded for immediate halt to the process of army mobilization in Makalu Barun National Park condemning the Government for violating human rights of indigenous peoples by beginning preparations for army mobilization without their free consent.

In a memorandum submitted to the Chairperson of Council of Ministers and other concerned state agencies on 26 August, representatives of indigenous communities and their organizationshave asked the Government to rather formulate conservation program through community participation with respectto their rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). They have also demanded to form security mechanism under the control of local indigenous peoples to stop hunting and conservation of bio-diversity in the park and have warned to organize protests if the Government takes action against them. More

Indigenous peoples’ organizations demand amendments in Nepal’s election laws

23 September 2013

Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and other indigenous peoples’ organizations have demanded amendments in Nepal’s election laws to provide for organizational representation of indigenous peoples through their ethnic organizations in second Constituent Assembly elections of the country.

In a memorandum submitted to Election Commission on Sunday and copied to High Level Political Committee, Chairperson of the Interim Election Council of Ministers and chairpersons of all political parties, the organizations have made the following demands:
1. Fully proportional representation of indigenous nationalities based on population and at least one representative per indigenous group in the second CA elections should be ensured.
2. The State should recognize the recommendation of indigenous peoples’ organizations with regards to Constituent Assembly members as per the Supreme Court order of 21 April 2013.
3. As provided in Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, minimum 37 per cent of total number of members in second Constituent Assembly should be guaranteed from indigenous nationalities.
4. Manifestos of political parties should be published in indigenous languages understood by indigenous nationalities.
5. Effective implementation of International Labour Organization Convention 169 (C169) and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) should be guaranteed.
6. Indigenous communities not represented through direct elections and proportional representation system should be represented through recommendations of their representative and traditional institutions.
7. At least 37 per cent of candidates under direct and proportional seats for elections recommended from all geographies, departments and concerned agencies should be guaranteed from indigenous nationalities and same ratio should be ensured in acquired proportional seats.
8. The 20-point agreement signed between NEFIN and Government of Nepal on 7 August 2007 and following 9-point agreement signed with Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction on 22 May 2012 should be strictly adhered to.
9. As provided in Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, all 26 seats to be nominated by the Council of Ministers should be ensured for indigenous nationalities. More

Can UNDRIP Be Enforced?

By Duane Champagne March 5, 2012

It was four and a half years ago—September 13, 2007 to be precise—that the U.N. General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The product of 30 years of negotiations among indigenous organizations, indigenous leaders and U.N. agencies, the declaration enshrines the individual human rights and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples in terms of self-government, land, education, employment, health and other areas.

It’s a bold vision. But can it be upheld? More

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