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24 March 2008

Nepal: Clampdown on Tibet demonstrators must stop immediately and protesters released

Amnesty International called on the Nepalese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested in connection with demonstrations on Tibet.

It is estimated that more than 400 people have been arrested today in connection with a number of protests on Tibet around Nepal.

"Nepal is sending a message of no-tolerance of dissent by arresting peaceful demonstrators," said Amnesty International, cautioning that the latest wave of repression extends beyond Tibet-related protests. "This is the latest in a series of clampdowns on peaceful demonstration as elections approach."

In one incident, activists were detained ahead of an Amnesty International Nepal vigil on the human rights situation in Tibet. At  13:55 hrs local time, 17 activists were detained in Maitiyala Mandala, Kathmandu and taken to Singha Durbar Police Station. No reason has been given for their arrest.

Detainees included: Rameshwar Npal, Director of Amnesty International Nepal; Sushil Pyakurel, former Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission; Govinda Bandi, lawyer and member of the International Commission of Jurists; and a other activists, including four from the Tibetan community and a number of Amnesty International members.

"The authorities' interference in peaceful protest by Tibetans and other human rights activists is unconstitutional," said Amnesty International.

"The move by the District Administration to prevent a peaceful demonstration from taking place is against Article 12 of the Constitution of Nepal. There are also no legal grounds to pre-ban demonstrations."

Amnesty International reiterated its call for the Chinese government to allow an independent UN investigation into the events in Tibet which prompted demonstrations in Nepal. It also called on the Chinese government to address the underlying grievances of the Tibetan people and long-term policies that have generated such resentment.  

Note to editors

To arrange an interview with Yolanda Foster, AI's researcher currently in Kathmandu and eye-witness to the arrests in Maitiyala Mandala, please contact +44 7778 472 126.

According to official figures, over 14,000 exiled Tibetans reside in Nepal (the figure is estimated to be closer to 20,000). Many have restricted rights.

 

AI Index: PRE01/090/2008
Region Asia And The Pacific
Country Nepal
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