Nepal Civil Society Intervention to 95th CERD Session, focuses on discriminatory provisions in the Consitution

Civil Society Intervention
Indigenous Peoples in Nepal
95th CERD session
30 April 2018
Geneva, Switzerland
Delivered by Shankar Limbu

Distinguish Chair, Expert Members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Constitution of Nepal 2015 was promulgated without meaningful participation and consultation of Indigenous Peoples. Despite early warning letters of the CERD in 2009 (Ref: JF/JF), 2012(Ref: CERD/EWUAP) and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, no special and independent thematic committees were formed in the Constituent Assembly. In 2013 the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a directive order to ensure meaningful participation of IPs in accordance with article 5(c) of CERD, the ILO Convention No. 169 and the UNDRIP, however it was not taken into account.   Ironically, proposals submitted by the IPs Constituent Assembly members in the Constituent Assembly have been forced to withdraw by the major political parties imposing whips.

As a result, the constitution systematically establishes racial supremacy of Hindu dominant race, defining them as Khas Arya enumerating as Bahun, Chetri, Thakuri, Dasnami and Sanyasis, that make 28% of total population of the nation and enjoy overwhelming representation and control all decision making institutions including legislative, executive and judiciary.  The Constitution does not recognize Indigenous Peoples rights that includes autonomy, self-governance and FPIC, the right to live with dignity is declared not-enforceable and can not challenge in the Court if it is violated.

Indigenous Peoples and other historically discriminated communities did have strong reservations on the discriminatory provisions of the Constitution. In a clash between the Tharu peaceful protestors and police in 2015, seven police personnel were killed and several injured. Though, the Civil Code on Court Proceeding allows maximum one year period of judicial custody, the alleged involvement in the killings of police 26 Tharus, including 2 children, are under the judicial custody for almost 3 years now in the charge of homicide and attempt to murder. No substantial evidences are presented to prove them guilty. Even, former Prime Minister admitted innocents are in custody in this case. In order to avoid arbitrary arrest, torture and intimidation more than 3000 Tharu men have fled to India. 14 Indigenous men are in judicial custody in charge of organized crime and Treason, but they were advocating right to autonomy.

15 August, 2015 after the incident, amidst of the curfew houses, shops, hotels, resort, radio station of Tharu were vandalized and set into fire by the unidentified groups with the surveillance of police.

Mr. Chair,

It is urgent to amend the discriminatory and racist provisions of Constitution to eliminate systematic racial discrimination against Indigenous Peoples.  And to ensure constitutional guarantee of indigenous peoples’ rights to autonomy, self-rule; rights over land territories and natural resources, right to use of mother tongue in education, justice administration, right to recognition of customary justice system. And also it is equally important to ensure the human rights of those innocent 26 Tharu and 14 IPs leaders and release them who have been kept in jail without free trial and substantial evidences.

Thank you Mr. Chair.

Click here to download full statement.

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