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London, October 6 – The International Solidarity For Nepal (INSOFN) welcomes the arrest of former Speaker of Nepal’s lower house of parliament, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, and calls upon the government of Nepal to conduct an investigation without any political bias in line with international norms.

We also call upon the Government of Nepal to expedite the investigation of rape and murder of Nirmala Pant more than a year ago and other victims of sexual violence against women.

We also call upon Nepali authorities to ensure that victims of gender-based and sexual violence including rape are protected and provided free legal and other assistance ensuring their safety. As we have seen in the context of alleged rape by Mr Mahara, the victim was forced to retract her statement within 72 hours of the incident. We, hence, demand that the state provide protection of the victims when the alleged perpetrators are people enjoying the power and so-called prestige.

We also express solidarity with the United Nations in Nepal and other Western embassies in Kathmandu that have called for employing a victim-centric approach while dealing with cases of gender-based violence.

We also encourage the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal to take a proactive role and ensure that investigation and prosecution of alleged perpetrator/s take place in accordance with the Constitution of Nepal and international practices.

We would also like to draw the attention of Nepali authorities towards their obligation under international law, as indicated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Dr Krishna Upadhyaya

Chairperson

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