HRC47 Oral Statement on Item 6: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Outcomes of Nepal
9 July 2021 11:01 pm
47th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 6: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Outcomes of Nepal
Delivered by Ahmed Adam
On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
8 July 2021
We welcome that Nepal has accepted several recommendations related the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association as well as protection of human rights defenders.
However, failure to except recommendations on some of the most pressing concerns related to these rights raises questions about Nepal’s commitment to ensure their protection in accordance its international human rights obligations and its own constitution.
We are concerned that Nepal has rejected recommendations to reform the 2006 Electronic Transactions Act and eliminate criminal provisions relating to defamation and slander. The Electronic Transactions Act have been used restrict freedom of the press, and prosecute, arrest, and detain journalists, members of public, artists, and musicians for legitimate online expression. Similarly, the new criminal code introduced in 2018 includes several provisions that could impose undue and broad restrictions on freedom of expression in contradiction with Nepal’s international obligations.
While these longstanding concerns remain and previous recommendations remain unfulfilled, the government has proposed several new legislations such as the Information Technology Bill, Media Council Bill and Mass Communication Bill that would further erode freedom of expression and the press with vaguely defined restrictions and criminal offences. We urge Nepal to reform all existing laws and ensure all proposed legislation related to freedom of expression and media are in line with Nepal’s international obligations, in particular the ICCPR. We further urge Nepal to decriminalise defamation.
Finally, the recent appointments to the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal, through a flawed process, without transparency, broad consultation or parliamentary approval undermines the independence, legitimacy, and public confidence in the Commission and contradicts with the accepted UPR recommendations. We call on Nepal to rescind these appointments and ensure appointment and selection process as well as the Human Rights Commission Act are in line with international standards including the Paris Principles.
We further call on Nepal to publicly set out a comprehensive, measurable, and time-bound action plan for the implementation of UPR recommendations, in full cooperation and consultation with civil society. Thank you.
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