Close

Search

CSW - everyone free to believe

Nepal

Nepal: Freedom of religion or belief

13 Jul 2015

Outline of the constitutional process to date

The first Constituent Assembly (CA) of Nepal, created by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and elected in April 2008, took the fundamental decision to abolish the Hindu monarchy and declare Nepal a secular republic. Tasked by the CPA with creating ‘a political system that fully complies with universally accepted fundamental human rights’, it nevertheless failed to complete the new constitution within the time allotted. Even after the election of the second CA in November 2013, the political parties were still unable to agree the new constitution until after the earthquakes in April and May 2015. However, on 8 June 2015 the four main parties agreed an outline plan for the constitution, which was expedited to produce a final draft by the beginning of July. There appears to be a shortened timescale for the rest of the process of promulgating the draft constitution: media reports suggest that the public consultation stage may be curtailed to about 15 days, possibly ending on 31 July 2015.

Over the past 12 months there have been a growing volume of accusations of mass forced conversions, and strident calls from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party - Nepal (RPP-N) party to insert into the new constitution a ban on all religious conversions. The coalition government reportedly agreed to these demands, in order to end noisy demonstrations and obstruction in the CA on 3 July.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To the Constituent Assembly of Nepal:

  •  Ensure that the new constitution of Nepal reflects in full the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and of Nepal’s own Treaty Act 1991;
  • Ensure that the new constitution of Nepal guarantees the right to choose and change one’s religion or belief, and the right to choose not to believe in a religion;
  • Ensure that the new constitution does not include any sentence or clause prohibiting or banning religious conversion, whether defined as by force or with or without inducement;
  • Ensure that a sufficiently lengthy period for public consultation on the draft constitution is allowed, to guarantee full participation by all citizens and concerned parties.
To states, parties or international bodies maintaining diplomatic relations with Nepal:

  • Engage effectively with the Universal Periodic Review of Nepal’s human rights, which culminates on 4 November 2015.

In contacts with the government of Nepal and members of its Constituent Assembly, to recommend:

  • That the new constitution of Nepal reflects in full the requirements of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and of Nepal’s own Treaty Act 1991;
  • That the new constitution of Nepal guarantees the right to choose and change one’s religion or belief, and the right to choose not to believe in a religion;
  • That the new constitution of Nepal does not include any sentence or clause prohibiting or banning religious conversion, whether defined as by force or with or without inducement;
  • That the process of public consultation on the new draft constitution of Nepal allows sufficient time for full consultation with all citizens of Nepal.

Click here to download the whole document 

Related

Loading...
Loading...

Sign up for updates on the work of CSW

* mandatory fields

By signing up you will receive news and case updates from CSW. You can unsubscribe at any time.

#2 CSW manifesto

We believe no one should suffer discrimination, harassment or persecution because of their beliefs