AIPP’s Solidarity Statement to the Activists and Indigenous Newar Community in Kathmandu
Chiang Mai, 2 April 2018 – Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) condemns in highest terms the violent response of the Nepalese government during the recent peaceful protest in Baneshwor on 28 March 2018. The incident resulted to arrest of 16 leaders and injuring many others as they were met with police’ water cannons and tear gas.
The indigenous Newar communities and activists were protesting about the road expansion, the Fast Track Highway, Outer Ring Road, and other satellite cities, among other destructive development projects to be built on their lands. These projects are set to destroy their homes and religious and cultural heritages.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Fast Track Highway Project has noted a strong objection from its construction but that was unheeded. The Government is also yet to make the EIA report public. The demands of the indigenous Newar for their right to free, prior informed consent in the projects remains to be unheard and disregarded. The National Human Rights Commission should respond to the communication the community representatives and local leaders forwarded demanding for their respect and protection of their rights.
AIPP calls on the Government of Nepal to make the police involved in the incident on 28 March to be accountable to their unwarranted response to the activists and indigenous communities. We call for upholding the indigenous peoples right to peaceful assembly and stop responding violently to peaceful rallies and demonstrations. We strongly urge the Government of Nepal to comply with its international human rights commitments and obligation including to respect, protect and fulfil indigenous peoples’ rights as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Rights, which was ratified by Nepal in 2007.
Gam Awungshi Shimray
Secretary-General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact