हुलाकी न्यूज, काठमाडौं : राज्यद्वारा मधेशमा भएका नरसंहारलगायत मानव अधिकार विरुद्धका घटनाका विषयमा संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघमा आजाव उठेको छ।
जेनेभास्थित मानव अधिकारका लागि संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघीय उच्चायुक्तको कार्यालयमा अल्पसंख्यक मुद्दाहरू सम्बन्धी ११ औं छलफलमा मधेशको मानव अधिकार बारे आजाव उठेको हो।
मधेशीहरुको तर्फबाट विश्वभरी छरिएर रहेका मधेशीहरुको छाता संगठन गैर आवासीय मधेशी संघ (एनआरएमए)का महासचिव डा.रविन्द्र कुमार यादवले आजाव उठाएका छन्।
मधेशीहरु राज्यविहिनताको अवस्थामा रहेको बताउँदै डा.यादवले मधेशमा राज्यद्वारा मानव अधिकार विरुद्धका कयौं घटना भएको दाबी गरेका छन्।
अल्पसंख्यक मधेशीहरुलाई इष्ट इण्डिया कम्पनीद्वारा नेपालको जिम्मा लगाइएको चर्चा गर्दै डा.यादवले नेपालले मधेशीलाई कमजोर पार्दै राज्य विहीन बनाउन सफल भएको बताएका छन्।
नेपाली सेनामा अप्रत्यक्ष रूपमा मधेशीको प्रवेश निषेध गरिएको बताउँदै डा.यादवले मधेशीहरुमाथि नेपाली भाषा लादन खोजिएको आरोप लगाएका छन्।
गैरमधेशीहरुलाई मधेशमा आप्रवासन गराएको बताउँदै डा.यादवले मधेशको वातावरणमा असर पर्नुका साथै मधेशका आदिवासी जनजातिलाई भूमिहीन बनाइएको बताएका छन्।
उनले प्रहरी हिरासतमा मारिएका राम मनोहर यादवका बारे पनि चर्चा गरेका छन्। मधेश अभियन्ता डा.सीके राउतलाई पछिल्लो पाँच वर्षमा १८ पटकभन्दा बढी पक्राउ गरिएको पनि डा.यादवले बताए।
यसअघि डा.यादवले अनरिप्रजेन्टेड राष्ट्रहरू र जनताको संगठन (यूएनपीओ)मासमेत मधेश बारे चर्चा गरेका छन्।
डा.यादवले मधेशको समस्या र इतिहासलगायतका विषयमा आजाव उठाएका छन्।
संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघमा दिइएको प्रस्तुती
“Statelessness: A Minority Issue”
11th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Dates: 28-30 November 2018
Palais des Nations- XVII-Geneva, Switzerland
Remarks by Rabindra Kumar Yadav, Non-Resident Madheshis Association
Hon. Chairman, Distinguished Guests and delegates of this 11th session of the Forum on Minority Issues being held in Geneva.
On behalf of people of Nepal, people of Madhesh, a southern territory of Nepal, as International General Secretary of Non-Resident Madheshis Association, representing the Madheshi community globally, I Would like to thank you for choosing the theme “Statelessness: A Minority Issue” as a global issues of concern for human rights and also thank you for giving me this opportunity to present the situation of statelessness in Nepal in general and particularly in Madhesh Region.
Hon. Chairman, Madheshis are aboriginal minority and historically marginalized community in Nepal. Madhesh consists of 17% of land-mass of Nepal (also known as breadbasket of Nepal due to its fertile land), and houses 51% of total population. Madhesh was annexed to Nepal in two parts in 1816 and 1860. British handed over the eastern part of Madhesh to Nepal in 1816 after Sugauli Treaty, instead of paying two hundred thousand rupees per year agreed earlier(.Article – IV Sugauli Treaty) 10 . British gave the western part of Madhesh as a gift to Nepal for its support to the East India Company in suppressing Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 in India.
Madhesh is the homeland of not only Madheshis, but also of Tharus (7% of Nepal’s population). Madhesh region was naturally protected from migration due to prevalence of Malaria, Madheshi and Tharu (aboriginal minority of Nepal) had developed some degree of immunity to this disease. But in 1950s, the GoN eliminated the Malaria menace and started active promotion of mass migration of Pahadi people under “Rapti valley project”. The population of Pahadis in Madhes increased from 3% to 33% within a decade and in due process the minorities suffered. Tharu’s land was grabbed and they were enslaved as “Kamaiyas” (bonded laborers) in their own homeland.
There are distinct anthropometric, linguistic, and cultural differences with Pahadi community (de-facto ruling ethnicity of Nepal), and these differences have become the basis of discrimination towards Madheshis. The loyalty of Madheshis towards Nepal has always been questioned by the Nepali ruling elites which is reflective in their policies. For example: Nepali language was unilaterally imposed as an official language in 1956 by National Education Planning Commission as a measure towards national-unity without any proper planning for non-Nepali speakers. Hindi was not only lingua-franca, but also the method of teaching in Madhesh region, but the then Government of Nepal (GoN) relinquished it without developing proper mechanism and time for transition from Hindi to Nepali language. This imposition of Nepali language had ripple effect on Madheshi society such as degradation of education, and exclusion from bureaucracy etc. Up-until 1950s, Madhesis were required to acquire a travel-document (similar to visa) for travelling to Kathmandu.
Another policy which has been particularly discriminative towards Madheshis is citizenship law. The citizenship laws are crafted in such a way that Madheshis, along with other minorities face difficulty in procuring citizenship document. Thereby putting 5.4 million people in stateless condition in Nepal.1
Hon. Chairman, I would like to draw your attention to the massive political protest during 2007 in Nepal in the area of Madhesh reminiscing the anger and dissatisfaction accumulated over time amongst the ethnic Madheshis primarily because of statelessness they had been facing for generations and the then government agreed to provide citizenship to the people of Nepal. Accordingly the Interim constitution was amended and the Citizenship distribution teams were deployed in the districts . As per GoN, 170,042, people received citizenship by birth during this time. Most of these new citizens were Madheshis and now their children who have now become eligible to acquire Nepali citizenship, are not receiving citizenship certificates and the authorities are avoiding issuing new citizenship by citing the lack of federal law for citizenship. It is important to note that even after three years of promulgation of New constitution, the GoN is intentionally not making federal law to allow these people to get the citizenship certificates. This deliberate attempt by GoN has further aggravated the situation rendering thousands of such people as stateless. This constitution, for the first time in the history, barred eight constitutional positions inaccessible to people holding citizenship other than “citizenship by descent” . This constitutional bias is aimed at directly curtailing rights of 2 million Indian women who are married to Madheshi men as part of age old cultural tradition of cross boarder marriages.
Nepal issues three types of Citizenship certificates a) by birth, b) by descent and c) by naturalization. The constitution itself is discriminatory towards women and marginalized community. A child born to a Nepalese citizen by birth and a foreigner cannot acquire citizenship by descent; he/she can only acquire the citizenship by naturalization which does not respect the idea of birthright citizenship. Also, children born to Nepalese women can acquire citizenship by descent, but only if the father of such children cannot be traced and interestingly, the constitution fails to explain the term ‘father not traced.’ There is a provision of children born to Nepalese women and foreign men acquiring citizenship by descent if at the time of application both the parents are Nepalese citizens. This contradicts the constitutional provision and the Citizenship Act, 2066, Section 3(1), which states that a person whose father or mother is a citizen of Nepal shall be a citizen by descent. A foreign female spouse of a Nepalese man can acquire citizenship by naturalisation, but the same does not apply to a foreign male spouse of a Nepalese woman.
Hon. Chairperson, here I would like to draw your attention that this issues has already been noted as concern by the UN CERD Committee too which notes the following:
“CERD was concerned by reports that some government officials were seeking to discourage Dalits from applying for citizenship. The Committee was further concerned by reports that many adult Terai/Madhesis whose parents received citizenship by birth before the promulgation of the Constitution of 2015 have been denied citizenship by descent, in violation of Article 11 (3) of the Constitution (arts. 2, 5).3
The Committee recommended that the State party ensure that its laws, regulations and practices set clear procedures for issuing citizenship certificates without distinction as to caste; register applications for citizenship in a timely manner and provide written, reasoned decisions for denials within a reasonable timeframe; and ensure the availability and accessibility of a complaint mechanism to contest the denial of applications for citizenship (CERD, 2018).”4
Hon. Chairperson, Madheshis have been struggling for their political rights since 1950s. And many movements has been staged by Madheshis which has been violently suppressed by security forces. And even if the movements results in some agreement, it is not implemented. For example, the ‘22-points agreement’ after the Madhesh Andolan-2007 had mandated inclusion of Madheshis in army. And even after more than a decade the inclusion of Madheshis is at 0.062% as per the official army website. I would like to highlight that Nepal promulgated its seventh constitution on 20th September 2015 and excessive force was used to enforce the, the state security agencies killed more than 50 Madhesi youths, because they protested against the constitution. The impunity and brazen use of force on civilians appalled the international human right watch and it published a famous report, “Like we are not Nepali”. The Mallik commission which was formed to investigate the brutalities of security forces, submitted its report, but the report is still to be made public and no punitive actions were taken for the impunity.
Hon. Chairperson, the Madhesis of Nepal, an ethnic minority groups, historically discriminated and structurally exploited are facing multiple threats and challenges in Nepal. The GoN has not made any investigations and has provided no justice to the victims of those Madhesis who were killed during the constitution making process in Nepal. In this reference, the GoN is also unable to reply to the letter of UN Special Rapportuers on June 7, 2017.
Example of Statelessness can be exemplified by this recent incident. Recently, one of the supporter of Alliance of Independent Madhesh (AIM), Late Ram Manohar Yadav was arrested on 23rd August 2018 from a political program, conducted in the presence of Nepal Deputy Prime Minister. He was arrested from the program hall fearing that he may ask questions to the minister. He was tortured in police custody for one week and finally died in police custody. The Chief District Officer, Ram Bahadur Rukumvang and Superintendent of Police Surendra Mainali are prime suspect in this case, however the police have refused to lodge an FIR and the GoN is refraining from investigating this custodial death. His brother and mother sent an FIR to District Police Office, Government Lawyers and Chief District Office, Bardiya by post office but no acknowledgment has been received from any office. The body of Ram Manohar is still lingering in the morgue since 84 days. Late Ram Manohar’s wife was manhandled and is under critical condition for demanding justice for her deceased husband[8,9]. Few Lawmakers demanded for formation of a parliamentary investigation committee to probe the custodial death of Ram Manohar Yadav but the GoN did not comply.
Recently, Nepal Police arrested Central Coordinator of Alliance for Independent Madhesh (AIM) Dr. CK Raut, along with his 4-year daughter and several other supporters from Rautahat District Court premises on 7th October 2018. Now, they are trying to prosecute them under sedition charges although Dr. Raut has been exonerated by Special Court and Supreme court of Nepal claiming he has never instigated violence neither has he threatened of any armed movement. Dr. Raut has been already arrested more than 18 times till now and when not arrested has been subjected to house arrest, although he has clean chit from Special Court. Pre-trial detention was extended again & again till date. His brother has filed writ at Supreme Court, Kathmandu for Habeas Corpus, ban to arrest in similar case again & again on 31st October 2018 but case couldn’t be proceeded till November 26, 2018. No media and no local human-rights bodies are allowed to speak about them and their programs, as the government targets them for covering any related news.
I would like to draw the attention of this esteemed forum, that all the restriction against the freedom of expression, injustice and statelessness against Madheshis in Nepal is outcome of the structural marginalization of this community. Thus, this distinguished forum must raise the concern against the structural discrimination and call for an end of all sort of discriminations, arbitrary behavior of state mechanism and to provide the citizenship to every people of Nepal without any discrimination or any procedural or administrative barriers.
2. Article 289 of the Constitution of Nepal states that Article 289 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 states that in order for a person to be elected, nominated or appointed to the office of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief of State, Chief Minister, Speaker of a State Assembly and chief of a security body, the person must have citizenship of Nepal by descent.
3. Concluding observations on the combined seventeenth to twenty-third periodic reports on Nepal by Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, May, 2018.
4. http://undocs.org/en/CERD/C/NPL/CO/17-23, para 33
7. “Like We Are Not Nepali” https://www.hrw.org/…/protest-and-police-crackdown-terai-re…