Nepal objects to UN High Commissioner’s statement on freedom of expression

Kathmandu, June 5

The government of Nepal has objected to a statement of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet about the status of freedom of expression in various countries.

In her statement released on Wednesday, referring to former bureaucrat Bhim Upadhyaya’s arrest on a cyber-crime charge, Bachelet had said he was arrested for his critical comments on the government’s Covid-19 response. In addition, her statement reads, “There have been several cases of journalists detained while covering Covid-related news, incidents of journalists facing obstruction from authorities, and reports of threats and physical attacks against journalists.”

But, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement to refute the UN official’s claim, saying, “The reference in the release does not reflect the correct facts and reality of press freedom in Nepal.”

The statement adds, “The constitution of Nepal guarantees full press freedom and also ensures effective judicial remedies against any kind of infringement. The government remains fully committed to protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution.”

The ministry assures, “The government of Nepal and its Permanent Mission in Geneva stand ready to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in substantiating the facts and information before they are released.”

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