CHRI's Statement on the Maltreatment of an RTI Activist in Nepal
CHRI joins Freedom Forum in condemning the alleged abuse, harassment and illegal detention of RTI activist Mr. Laxman Prasad Shrap in Birgunj Nepal on 5th December, 2014. The ugly trend of attacks on RTI users- a frequent occurrence in India has begun in Nepal as well. The information that Mr. Shrap was seeking ought to have been disclosed proactively by the public authority under the terms of the Right to Information Act, B. S. 2064. Instead the Head of Office is said to have colluded with the local police to abuse and threaten him and eventually, detain him in police custody.
All Government Officers in Nepal are sworn to abide by the law and guarantee protection of all fundamental rights including the right to information recognised in the Interim Constitution. No person should be victimised for demanding transparency in public affairs as that is a democratic and fundamental human right of the people.
CHRI urges the National Information Commission of Nepal to take suo motu cognizance of this incident, inquire into the matter and order the concerned public authority to disclose and widely disseminate all information sought by Mr. Shrap immediately. This step is necessary to frustrate the attempts of vested interests to keep development-related information hidden from the public gaze.
CHRI urges the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal, to take suo motu cognizance of this incident and launch an investigation into alleged police highhandedness immediately. CHRI also urges the National Human Rights Commission to take appropriate action against all officers involved in the maltreatment of Mr. Shrap and provide adequate compensation to him as recompense for the indignity heaped on him.
Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), New Delhi
Venkatesh Nayak, Programme Coordinator, Access to Information Programme, CHRI, New Delhi