Human rights bodies within the country and abroad have expressed concern at the way authorities in Nepal’s capital evicted hundreds settled on banks of the Bagmati River.
On Tuesday, municipal authorities and personnel from Armed Police Force in Kathmandu demolished 257 homes leaving 844 residents including 401 children homeless to make way for an urban development project.
The move also destroyed a primary school where nearly 200 evicted children studied. Nearly 12,000 Kathmandu residents are expected to be displaced for the project.
Accusing the authorities of disrespecting the rights of people living in the settlements, the New York-based Human Rights Watch has asked the Nepal government to immediately stop forcible evictions.
“The government has obligations to respect due procedure, inform people affected well in advance, and to ensure availability of alternative housing,” said Brad Adams, HRW’s Asia Director.
Without any means of shelter to escape pre-monsoon showers, most evicted families are still staying close to their demolished homes or seeking safety in nearby parks and buildings.
The Bagmati Action Plan, which aims to develop the banks of Bagmati could witness eviction of over 10,000 squatters. Nearly 41% of them are stated to be below 19 years of age.
The rights body wants the government to respect UN-developed specific standards like providing alternative housing and non-disruption of children’s education while carrying out evictions.
The National Human Rights Commission, National Women Commission and other human rights bodies in Nepal have also urged the government to re-settle the evicted squatters at the earliest and provide them social security.