Education International
Education International

EI monitors the situation in Nepal

published 15 February 2006 updated 6 June 2018

EI and other trade union bodies are monitoring the situation in Nepal closely, as hundreds of pro-democracy activists are still detained across the country.

The General Federation of Nepali Trade Unions (GEFONT) had hoped that imprisoned trade unionists would be freed after the elections on 8 February. However, since that date only a small number of students have been released. The royal government called the elections in the hope of gaining an advantage in its power struggle against the Maoists and opposition. The Maoists, who are blamed for killing at least one candidate, shooting and wounding another and kidnapping a third, had promised to disrupt the elections. Many candidates had withdrawn following rebel threats, leaving about a quarter of the more than 4,000 seats without any candidates. As a result, no election was held in 22 municipalities, despite the posts being for relatively powerless posts of city councillors and mayors. Polls recorded the lowest turnout ever of 20 percent in different parts of the country. EI affiliates NNTA and NTA, which also function under the umbrella of the Teachers' Union of Nepal (TUN), are waiting for the Supreme Court of Nepal to rule about the cases of the union leaders currently detained: Mr Keshav Bhattarai, President of TUN Mr Mohan Gyanwali, President of NTA Mr Bauram Thapa, Vice President of NNTA Mr Mahendra Sharma, member of TUN Mr Dandi Sharma, member of NNTA Ms Indira Sapkota, member of NTA EI is liaising with its affiliates in Nepal and with the ICFTU and other Global Union Federations active in Nepal, about further actions to support genuine trade union freedom in Nepal.