Give Us a List, Ian
UNOHCR'S Ian Martin violating our human rights with this photo.
The Nepali government, acting on credible information of a potential Maoist infiltration of tomorrow's protest, rounded up and arrested a bunch of mid-level party activists today.
Never mind that street protests have been banned since January 16 and never mind that the government's well-established and well-known Public Security Act permits: ".... detention without trial, initially for up to 90 days, to prevent persons from committing actions that “undermine the sovereignty, integrity or public tranquility and order of the Kingdom,” Ian Martin thinks that human rights are being violated.
Ian, the government has been pre-rounding up protesters for a long time under this act, why all the grand-standing now? Blogdai thinks one need look no further than Ian's resume' for the answer. As the former General Secretary of Amnesty International (AI), Ian Martin is skilled at waiting for the limelight to hit him before making his move. It's an old AI fundraising trick. Find the current world attention hotspots and jump into the middle of the fray and claim a dire human rights crisis.
Not this time, Ian. This was a simple municipal police action designed to insure public safety. It was preventative and necessary. No protests or demonstrations allowed inside the ring-road of kathmandu. These activists were given plenty of notice and plenty of warning. They brazenly stated that they would violate the ban and wouldn't be responsible for any acts of violence that occured. Would the Nepali government be given better marks if it let, say, Prachanda march his entire army into kathmandu and up to the gates of the palace as long as it didn't open fire? No, there was and is a very real public safety risk emerging and the government acted properly and decisively.
Preventing an assembly, whether potentially violent or not, is not a human rights violation.
If the government were starving these party hacks or parading them through the streets chained and naked, then you would have a point, Ian. But guess what, UNOHCR and other groups have been given full prison access to monitor the condition of the prisoners, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Martin.
Ever see a WTO meeting? Protesters can't get within 3 city blocks of the meeting place. How about when George Bush lands somewhere. Yep, they keep the protesters forcibly outside a cordon, or mini ring- road, if you will. Is it a violation of human rights, Ian, if a protester is not allowed to shout nose-to-nose at George Bush? Based on your proclamations, virtually all civic ordinances could now be deemed as human rights debacles.
Current potential human rights violations under "The Martin Standard:"
1. Having to pay for parking along Durbar Marg represents a financial hardship and a clear violation of a person's freedom to assemble their cars at the place of their choosing.
2. Walking through a group of transvestites in Thamel at 9 p.m. is an assault on one's human dignity and a clear human rights violation against unsuspecting pedestrians
3. Incessant street protests by the parties prevents many from moving and conducting business in a safe environment. Their views are not shared by all. Forcing their programs on the people of Kathmandu is clearly political oppression and a violation of human rights.
4. The food at The Ambassador Hotel is an undisclosed health hazard and is the cause of much public-health hysteria. Citizens live in constant fear of poisoning, which creates a regressive fine-dining climate.
5. Having to wait for hours at TIA airport in the glass "holding-tank" departure gate represents involuntary temporary imprisonment and is a clear human rights violation.
Ian Martin, by his statements, has effectively called into question any ordinace on the books in Kathmandu that even remotely causes citizen discomfort in the cause of greater public safety.
So that we may all get on with our lives, Ian, could you be so kind as to give us a list of all municipal ordinances that you and the UNOHCR find to be human rights compliant?