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Concern over Breach of Freedom of Expression in the Run-Up to CA Election II

Entire nation is now engrossed in the second election to the Constituent Assembly being held on November 19, 2013.

The government, political parties, Election Commission and security bodies have almost finalized the preparations for holding the CA elections successfully. The general public (voters) is also upbeat to select new candidates of their favour for the CA to draft new constitution.

Despite this, many untoward and violent incidents are recurring at different parts of the country thereby threatening people's right to vote, right to expression/speech, right to information, and right to free mobility and to life.

From across the country, including the Capital City Kathmandu, there are the news reports of many incidents like bomb blasts targeting political leaders and innocent people, arson on the vehicle's used by political leaders, obstruction for the party leaders and people to reach place of election gathering, arson attempt at election candidate's residence, bomb blast near candidates' residence. Such violent activities though said earlier carried out by the 'unknown' people/gangs, the government has now pointed to the poll-opposing Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist led by Mohan Baidya.

Of course, the party called one day banda (nationwide general shutdown) while continuing the transportation strike for four days thereby affecting people's daily life. As a result, political leaders are deprived of giving speech/expression, people are deprived of their right to peaceful assembly and others.

Similarly, in course of the electioneering, many political parties including the big ones have attacked their rival leaders and cadres, obstructed from giving speech and foiled election atmosphere.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns such activities and incidents because these have violated the fundamental rights of people- right to peaceful gathering, right to free speech, right to information. With this, the peaceful atmosphere for election is being spoiled which finally deprives people to exercise voting rights.
Therefore, the Freedom Forum strongly urges the poll-opposing CPN-Maoist and other parties not to foil the election atmosphere, but respect people's rights to vote, which is the beauty of democracy. The CPN-Maoist needs to stop the strike.

The parties must abide fully by the Article 19 of the UDHR (Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.) and the Article 19 of the ICCPR (1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. 3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. ) for boosting democratic culture where people's rights are protected.

For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: info@freedomforum.org.np; monitoring@freedomforum.org.np