Will Nepal’s new Constituent Assembly deliver on indigenous peoples’ aspirations for right to self-determination?

22 January 2014

By Prabindra Shakya

On 22 January 2014, as Nepal’s second Constituent Assembly (CA) held its first meeting in Kathmandu, leaders from across political divide have pledged to draw up a new constitution within a year to end the protracted constitution making process of the country.  A previous Assembly elected in 2008 was dissolved and the process suspended in May 2012 after parties failed to agree on key contentious issues, including form of federalism, in new constitution. With the new CA now underway, whether aspirations of Nepal’s indigenous peoples to exercise their right to self-determination (self-governance) in a federal Nepal is highly questionable. More

Cases of persecution of indigenous peoples in Nepal under law against cow-slaughter reported in 2012/13

Indigenous peoples in Nepal continue to be persecuted under its 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 act violates namely article 8 of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that states that “indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.” Further, under Article 1 of UNDRIP and Article 3 of International Labour Organisation Convention No. 169 (ILO C. 169), indigenous peoples are due the full measure of human rights and fundamental rights promised to all peoples under international human rights law—including the rights to freedom of religion, equality before the law and minority rights to cultural expression as protected respectively in Articles 18, 26 and 27 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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Urgent Communication to the European Union Election Observation Mission concerning legal framework for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly Elections 2013 and its implementation

21 November 2013

European Union Election Observation Mission – Nepal 2013

Trade Tower, Ground floor, Thapathali, Ward No 11

Kathmandu – Nepal

Re: Urgent Communication concerning legal framework for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly Elections 2013 and its implementation 

Dear Sir or Madam:

This urgent communication is respectfully submitted for consideration of the European Union Election Observation Mission – Nepal 2013, under the mandate and objectives of the Mission, concerning the legal framework for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly Elections 2013 and its implementation in relation to representation of indigenous peoples in the Elections and forthcoming Constituent Assembly. More

YFIN and IPRAN submit comments on Draft Youth Charter of SAARC

7 Oct 2013

In response to call for comments from Nepal’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (YFIN) Nepal and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Activists Network (IPRAN) have today submitted comments on the draft of SAARC Youth Charter.

YFIN and IPRAN drew particular attention of the Ministry to the following issues with regards to the Charter :

  1. The Draft Charter largely ignores the diversity of peoples, and hence the youth, in SAARC region. We are particularly concerned about non-recognition of disadvantaged and marginalized groups in the region, including indigenous and tribal peoples, Dalits, sexual minorities, persons with disability, linguistic and religious minorities, among others, in the Draft. Youth from these groups have distinct identity than other youth and have specific needs arising from long-standing marginalization, discrimination, exclusion and oppression against those groups. Thus, we highly suggest, as reflected in our comments, that the Draft obliges State Parties to recognize such diversity, distinct identities of groups and their specific needs and take targeted actions to address those needs.
  2. Further, the Draft Charter proposes for a national mechanism for the implementation of the Charter and a Youth Plan of Action to operationalize the provisions of the Charter. We strongly emphasize that such mechanism and plan of action should ensure full, effective, meaningful and inclusive representation and participation of youth from the country, including those from indigenous and tribal peoples and other disadvantaged and marginalized groups. More

Draft report of the Government of Nepal to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), September 2013

Click on the link below to see the draft of 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd report of the Government of Nepal to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

GoN_CERD_Periodic_Report_draft

 

Comments on the report or shadow report to CERD will be published later.

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

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. More

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