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ICEM Letter to King of Nepal

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25 January, 2006

For the urgent attention of His Majesty
King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
Narayanhity Royal Palace
Durbar Marg

By fax: +977 14 413577 and +977 14 228235

Brussels, 24 January 2006

King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev,

I am writing as General Secretary of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM), in the name of the 20 million members that we represent worldwide in over 120 countries, to protest the ongoing repression in Nepal against numerous trade union leaders.

Over the course of the past week, as your regime began preventing planned pro-democracy demonstrations and engaged itself in a brutal and repressive wave against peaceful protests, a large number of trade union leaders were arrested, together with many other leaders and activists from other organisations.

Amongst the trade unionists arrested were GEFONT Chairperson Makunda Neupane and Gefont Secretary-General Binod Shrestha, as well as Ms. Manju Bhattarai, NTUC Central member and Mr Radheshyam Pathak, NTUC District President.

We are calling upon you to ensure the immediate release of all trade union leaders and members that have been arrested over the last few days, as well as for the release of all political leaders and activists that are currently in detention.

In addition, we understand that the curfew that was in place since 16 January has now been lifted in Kathmandu and its neighbouring city Lalitpur. However, much more remains to be done in order to put your country on the path to democracy. For example, new curfews have been announced, and others remain in place, and these should be lifted. I would like to urge you to rescind these curfews as a matter of priority.

Thanking you in advance for your kind cooperation

Yours sincerely,

Fred Higgs
General Secretary