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In a first, neighbours clash over Constitution as India takes Nepal to UN

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Nov 5, 2015, 5:40 pm IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 5:38 am IST
Kathmandu asked Ban Ki-moon to press New Delhi over the border blockade
Ethnic Madhesi protesters throw stones and bricks at Nepalese policemen in Birgunj, a town on the border with India, Nepal, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Ethnic protesters demonstrating against the new constitution clashed with police in south Nepal Monday
 Ethnic Madhesi protesters throw stones and bricks at Nepalese policemen in Birgunj, a town on the border with India, Nepal, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Ethnic protesters demonstrating against the new constitution clashed with police in south Nepal Monday

United Nations: India for the first time took a stand against Nepal at an international forum India told a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council Wednesday that it was “concerned” over “lack of political progress”. This move by India has marked a sharp escalation in the diplomatic battle between traditionally good friends.

India blamed Kathmandu for the border protests that have blocked a checkpoint responsible for 70 per cent of bilateral trade between the neighbours, and referred to allegations of "violence, extra-judicial killings and ethnic discrimination" in Nepal.

 

Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, on his part, said: “Under any pretext, disruption of supplies, disruption of transit is not acceptable Can’t Nepal have its own authority to promulgate a Constitution?”

The criticism at a review of Nepal's human rights record at the UN in Geneva came a day after Kathmandu asked UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to intervene and press New Delhi over the border blockade.

Speaking at the Geneva meeting of the UNHRC called to discuss Nepal’s Universal Periodic Review, India’s Acting Permanent Representative B N Reddy said, “We note the concerns expressed by UN human rights bodies, UN Country Team and Nepal’s own Human Rights Commission over continuing incidents of violence, extra-judicial killings and ethnic discrimination in the country. We urge the Government of Nepal to investigate and take credible measures to prevent their recurrence. Problems facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved through force or a security-based approach.”

India has consistently denied any role in the "obstruction" and suggested that Nepal needed to address the demands of protestors to open up its trade chokepoints.

B N Reddy urged the Nepal government to firstly, “consolidate the constitution building and democratization process by accommodating all sections of Nepal to enable broad-based ownership and participation”.

Secondly, he suggested that it should “ensure effective functioning of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and full implementation of its recommendations, including prosecution of those responsible for violent insurgency”.

It should, “ensure the independence and financial autonomy of the National Human Rights Commission”.

Lastly, he added that Nepal should “set up an independent Commission for children and women”.

Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Thapa said nowhere in the world can there be any Constitution which is 100 per cent perfect. “It is a living document that can be amended is owned by all sections of society,” he said.

He said Nepal had incurred losses of  up to $5 billion in the last two months: “For a country like Nepal, how much suffering can we go through? Is that justifiable? Can’t Nepal have its own authority to promulgate constitution?”

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