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Defend the defenders

In April, Britain’s Law Society intervened in the case of Mandira Sharma, a Nepalese human rights lawyer facing persecution as an ‘anti-Maoist dollar mongerer’. Sharma, founder and chair of the human rights group Advocacy Forum, is one of a number of human rights defenders in Nepal who have faced threats because of their campaigns against immunity for politicians, paramilitaries and other individuals suspected of war crimes during the Nepali civil war (1996-2006).

Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said: ‘We are very concerned about threats of death and violence against Mandira Sharma and other lawyers in Nepal.’ In March, four men with iron rods assaulted the executive director of the Human Rights Alliance, Mr Yadav Prasad Bastola.

OMCT, the World Organisation Against Torture, has issued a call for letters to be written to the authorities in Nepal, urging them to ‘guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr Yadav Prasad Bastola, Ms Mandira Sharma, Mr Subodh Pyakhurel, Mr Kanak Mani Dixit, Mr Sushil Pyakhurel, Mr Charan Prasai and Mr Kapil Shrestha as well as of their relatives and all human rights defenders in Nepal.’

OMCT is also calling for ‘a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation’ into the attack on Bastola and the threats against other human rights defenders.

Letters to: prime minister Mr Khil Raj Regmi, office of the prime minister and council of Nepal, Singha Darbar, Kathmandu, Nepal:
And inspector general of police Mr Kuber Singh Rana, police headquarters, PO Box 407, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal:

Topics: Human rights