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Nepal: Concern over attacks on peaceful election campaigning

A Nepalese woman at a screen printing unit prepares to print flags of various political parties ahead of the upcoming legislative elections in Kathmandu, Nepal, 13 November 2017
A Nepalese woman at a screen printing unit prepares to print flags of various political parties ahead of the upcoming legislative elections in Kathmandu, Nepal, 13 November 2017

AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

This statement was originally published on freedmomforum.org.np on 19 November 2017.

Freedom Forum is seriously concerned over the spate of attacks targeting election candidates, media persons and peaceful rallies and programs across the country.

With the elections for the House of Representatives and Provincial parliament slated for November 26, 2017 in the Himalayan and upper hilly districts and on December 7 in the southern plains and the country in full swing for its conduct, a series of attacks on election candidates have not only increased the security threat, but have also violated freedom of expression and speech.

The peaceful assemblies and rallies where people are expressing their views must not be hindered at all.

News of bomb blasts targeting election candidates and peaceful gatherings have been rife in the media for a week. Once people's movement and peaceful campaigning are obstructed, freedom of expression is hindered and the free flow of information is blocked.

Commenting on this, Executive Chief at Freedom Forum, Mr Taranath Dahal, observed: "With the continued bomb explosions in different places, the atmosphere for the election candidates and the general public who wish to exercise their right to freedom of expression [FoE] is foiled. FoE is a prerequisite to a [fairly] competitive election and essential for people to make an informed choice. The attacks have created a climate of fear even among journalists who are in the field reporting on the election. Such acts by any side must come to an end so that citizens' freedom of expression and voting rights can be protected."

Freedom Forum condemns the incidents and strongly urges the concerned authorities to ensure a fear-free atmosphere where voters, election candidates and media persons can exercise their rights unhindered.

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