ICC Note: Christian Solidarity Worldwide has called on Nepal to address its lack of commitment to the freedom of religion and belief. A newly elected member of the UN Human Rights Council, Nepal has recently been curtailing the freedom of religion within its own borders. In October 2017, the Nepalese government passed a nationwide anti-conversion law that will criminalize all religious conversions.
05/05/2018 Nepal (World Watch Monitor) – As a newly elected member state of the UN Human Rights Council, Nepal must address its own commitment to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and belief, says Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
The advocacy organization highlighted Nepal’s decision in October to criminalize religious conversion and the “hurting of religious sentiment”, after which two parliamentarians warned that religious freedom in the country was “teetering on the edge”.
While Nepal is a secular state according to its constitution, the Hindu faith is afforded special protection. Religious minorities, such as Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, continue to be denied the ability to register their places of worship. Instead, they are forced to register as non-governmental organizations, meaning they are prohibited from holding activities that involve the sharing of their faith.
In order to display its commitment to human rights as a member of the Council, Nepal needs to invest in initiatives that would address religious hatred and discrimination, CSW said, and provide religious minorities with land to bury their dead – something that is currently routinely denied.
Nepal must also ensure that its domestic legislation on the protection of human rights is in line with its obligations under international law, CSW concluded.
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