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Nepal: Human Rights

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the political and human rights situation of the Madhesis people of Nepal. (191422)

The question of Madhesi rights and engagement in the political process has risen sharply up the agenda through the last year, following significant disturbances and violent protests across the Terai region. Throughout this period, the UK, with our international partners, has continued to urge the Government of Nepal to engage with Madhesi groups, to address their legitimate concerns and to bring them into a fully representative electoral process. The UK joined with our EU partners in welcoming the 28 February 2008 agreement between the Government of Nepal and the United Democratic Madhesi Front, which addresses many of the main Madhesi demands and which has allowed Madhesi parties to start the process of nominating candidates to the elections.

Through the UK’s continuing support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal and local and international non-governmental organisations, the UK has worked to reduce human rights violations in the Terai and elsewhere in Nepal. While the agreement of 28 February 2008 will go some way to ensuring the recognition of Madhesi rights, the UK will continue to work with human rights defenders across Nepal to help promote respect for international human rights standards.