Over 400 people were arrested in Nepal on Monday as the authorities clamped down on peaceful demonstrations against Chinese human rights abuses in Tibet.
"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 in the capital Kathmandu, activists were detained ahead of an Amnesty International Nepal vigil on Tibet. At 13:55 local time, 17 activists were detained in Maitiyala Mandala and taken to Singha Durbar Police Station. No reason has been given for their arrest.
Those arrested included: Rameshwar Nepal, 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 other activists, including four from the Tibetan community and a number of Amnesty International members.
"The authorities' interference in peaceful protests by Tibetans and other human rights activists is unconstitutional," said Amnesty Inetrnational. "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 has 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.