Since the dismissal by HM King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal of his Government, on 1 February 2005, civil liberties and fundamental workers rights of leaders and members of Nepalese trade unions, together with a large number of other independent organisations, have been suspended as part of a series of anti-democratic measures.

Statement Of The ILO Workers’ Group On The
Situation Of Human And Trade Union Rights In Nepal

Scores of trade unionists, journalists, political leaders and democracy
activists have been arrested to date, some of who are known to be in poor
health, while many others live in fear of being arrested. In spite of repeated
personal interventions by the Director-General at the highest possible level of
the State, several trade union leaders remain in jail at present, with the
prospect of spending many more months in detention. They include:

  • Mr. Puskar Acharya, Senior Vice-President Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC),
    from Biratnagaar;
  • Ms. .Manju Bhattarai, NTUC Central Committee Member, from Kathmandu;
  • Mr. Bhakta B. Karki, NTUC Vice-President, Western Region (Dhangadi),
  • Ms. Sarita Boon, NTUC District Member, Kathmandu – Teachers’
  • Ms. Gita Pathak, Central Committee Member, NTUC Construction Workers’
  • Mr. Murari Sharma, President, NTUC Kaski District, detained in Pokhara
  • Mr. Shamsher Bd. Thapa, Vice-President, NTUC Construction Union,
  • Mr. Arjun Lal – President of Makawanpur District NTUC
  • Mr..Ramakanta Sapkota, former General Secretary of the Nepal National
    Teachers’ Association (NNTA)
  • Mr. Chandra Bhattari, Senior Vice President, Construction Workers’ Union –
    NTUC, Pokhara.
  • Mr. Ramjee Kunmar, Vice-President NTUC, detained in Pokhara
  • Mr. Binda Sahni, Vice-President, NTUC Rautahat District
  • Mr. Bom Bahadur, NTUC Vice-President, Western Zone
  • Trade union activities have been severely limited, with any union meetings
    requiring prior authorisation from public officials, which is contrary to
    fundamental ILO standards. Trade union offices and private houses of trade union
    leaders and activists have been searched, documents and other trade union
    materials confiscated and trade union gatherings – including, especially,
    a joint union rally on International Women’s’ Day (8th
    March 2005) – have been forbidden or severely disrupted.

    The Workers’ Group of the ILO Governing Body notes that many
    governments have already taken steps, including measures affecting international
    cooperation assistance, in order to persuade Nepal’s authorities to
    restore unrestricted civilian rule in the country and lift all measures
    affecting the free exercise of all human rights.

    The Workers’ Group of the Governing Body urges Nepal’s
    authorities to take immediate and necessary measures to protect the leaders of
    the Nepalese trade unions and all other sectors of civil society from being
    arrested or put under house arrest, to release immediately and unconditionally
    all above-mentioned trade union leaders and officials as well as other
    unionists, journalists, human rights’ advocates and other individuals who
    have been arbitrarily detained so far . It further urges the Government to avoid
    any further violation of human and trade union rights.

    The Workers’ Group of the Governing Body expresses the firm opinion
    that the suspension of democracy and the violation of fundamental trade union
    and other human rights are not conducive to solving Nepal’s problems. What
    the country urgently needs at present is a concerted effort to bring all
    constitutional forces together and develop a comprehensive set of
    constitutional, social and economic reforms. Failure to do so will only
    perpetuate a climate of fear, which is counterproductive for any country that is
    in urgent need of a stable political and economic environment.

    Geneva, 22 March 2005