Mr. Jitman Basnet, lawyer

Re: Mr. Jitman Basnet, lawyer

To: His Majesty King Gyanendra and others

From: Catherine Morris, LRWC, and others

Date: 2007-06-20

It is reported that on May 21, 2007 at approximately 6.15 pm, Mr. Basnet received an anonymous call from a public telephone booth in Swayambhu, Kathmandu, in which the caller threatened that Mr. Basnet would “bear the results” of his work. Mr. Basnet has been working for several years to human rights violations in Nepal.

While we have been quite encouraged over the past year about improvements in the human rights situation in Nepal, we are concerned about this report of intimidation against a lawyer involved in human rights work. We urge your government to take all necessary steps to ensure Mr. Jitman Basnet’s safety, and to put a stop to all acts of harassment and threat against Mr. Jitman Basnet and other human rights defenders. We also request that you ensure a fair and impartial investigation into the above-reported event and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice by a competent and independent court that will impartially apply appropriate penal, civil or administrative sanctions provided by law.

We also urge your government ensure respect for human rights in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Nepal. We draw your attention to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted in 1998 by the UN General Assembly. Article 1 states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.” Article 12.2 provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

We look forward to your response.