Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Nepal

Newsline: Survivors of 2016 bomb attack on Kabul embassy guards suing Canada for $20.4 million

Thirteen Nepalese Gurkhas and two Indian contractors were killed in that June 20, 2016 attack, when a suicide bomber belonging to the terrorist splinter group Islamic State-Khorasan Province sprinted up to the bus and triggered the bomb. Sherchan was knocked unconscious. CBC News has learned that survivors of that attack, and widows of the victims, filed suit against the Canadian government on Tuesday in Toronto at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. They allege Ottawa was negligent and failed in its duty to supervise the private security contractor which employed the guards, Sabre International Security. Neither the survivors nor their family members have spoken publicly until now. Two survivors and four widows agreed to be interviewed by CBC News through a translator. The contractor is also being sued as part of the same legal action for allegedly failing to honour insurance settlements. The plaintiffs allege the widows have received just a fraction of the $300,000 US they were owed, while the survivors received only $30,000 US of a promised $300,000 fund for health and rehabilitation benefits. The lawsuit calls on the Canadian government to cover the difference between what they were paid and what they say they were owed and seeks damages for all 20 claimants. They’re seeking $20.4 million in combined compensation and damages. The case is expected to shine a bright light on Canada’s handling of private security companies accused of preying on vulnerable migrant workers who take highly dangerous jobs for cut-rate wages. The Gurkhas killed in Kabul were taking home between $800 and $1,100 per month.


Newsline: Blast near Indian Embassy field office in Nepal

A pressure cooker bomb went off near the Indian Embassy field office in Nepal’s Biratnagar damaging the walls of the premises, Nepal Police has said. No one has claimed responsibility. The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu has not made any remarks regarding the blast yet. It is suspected that a splinter group of Maoist-led by Netra Bikram Chand could be responsible for the blast due to its anti-Indian rhetoric in the past. According to the Superintendent of Police of Morang district, Arun Kumar BC, the blast occurred close to the office that India, he said, was operating without permission of the Nepal government.


Newsline: British Embassy in Kathmandu reinforced after quake

UK contractor Gilbert-Ash has finished a £1m fit out project on the British Embassy compound in earthquake-hit Kathmandu, Nepal. In the wake of the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, which killed 9,000 people, the 22-week project included design, fit-out and seismic reinforcement. Nepal has been rebuilding since the devastating earthquake, which caused widespread structural damage. Belfast-headquartered Gilbert-Ash worked with local structural engineers for whom earthquakes are a common occurrence.


Newsline: Many Asians unhappy with embassies in Qatar

A rapid increase in the number of foreign workers recruited from Asian countries, especially in the construction sector, ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, has put the embassies of their countries here in a not-so-comfortable situation, with more pressure on consular services and a rise in workers’ complaints. A random survey conducted by The Peninsula among members of different Asian communities shows that very few are satisfied with the performance of their embassies. Most respondents were critical of what they said were poor consular services provided by the missions. A Nepalese worker complained about delays in consular services at the embassy. An Indian expatriate said the Indian embassy had a lot to do to address the problems of the rapidly growing Indian expatriate population in Qatar. Most Sri Lankans this daily spoke to were bitterly critical of their embassy, its staff and services. Several Bangladeshis contacted for comment also said that they were upset by the “poor” treatment they got at their embassy. The Philippine embassy came out with flying colours in the Peninsula survey. Asked whether the embassy would come to their aid if they were in trouble, all the respondents in the survey said yes.


Newsline: Norway embassy in Nepal refutes allegation of ‘anti-peace’ activities

Embassy of Norway has denied allegation by the UCPN (Maoist) that Norway was funding anti-peace activities in Nepal. Issuing a press statement over allegation on the misuse of Norwegian funding to the South Asia Trust, the embassy said all Norwegian funding is transparent and made public on the embassy’s website and its partners are registered and have the approval of Nepal’s Social Welfare Council. “We want to be clear that we have no reason to believe that the embassy’s funding to the Himal South Asian magazine has been misused. However, any such allegations are serious, and requires necessary action from our side,” the statement quoted Norway’s Ambassador to Nepal, Kjell Tormod Pettersen as saying. The statement reiterated that Norway has been a firm, trusted supporter of Nepal’s peace process from the very beginning, and is committed to support the finalization of the new constitution. The statement comes in the wake of Maoist lawmaker Shakti Basnet demanding probe into South Asia Trust Fund during the parliament meeting on Thursday. Basnet, while addressing the meeting, claimed that the grant support provided by Norwegian government to the South Asia Trust was aimed at influencing and disturbing the peace process in Nepal. The Trust is headed by journalist Kanak Mani Dixit.


Newsline: Nepali embassy in India punishes guards

The Nepali Embassy for India in New Delhi has decreased the salary grade of its two security guards after finding the duo responsible for the escape of two rescued Nepali girls from the embassy a week ago. Security guards Ganesh Poudel and Raghu Gyawali had earlier faced temporary suspension from their work in the wake of the incident. Khagnath Adhikari, charge d’affairs of the embassy, said the investigation showed that Poudel and Gyawali had neglected to to perform their duty well and let the two girls slip past the embassy without anyone noticing. He said the salary grade of the two guards was slashed on the basis of a report submitted by a committee formed to investigate the incident. On April 11, a social organisation had rescued the two Nepali girls from a guest house and handed over to the embassy. The two girls had escaped two days later.


Newsline: Two trafficked girls disapper from Nepali Embassy in New Delhi

The two Nepali girls rescued from a guest house and handed over to the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi on Friday reportedly disappeared on Sunday morning. Permanent residents of Ichowk in Sindhupalchok, the girls from Tamang community aged between 15 to 16 were rescued by local social organisations at Manju Katila in India. Local residents Fulmaya Tamang and Kalu Lama trafficked the girls to New Delhi through Raxaul on March 15 and were preparing to sell them both to a brothel for Rs 400,000. The fact that the girls disappeared from the embassy is questionable. Khaganath Adhikari, charge d’affaires of the embassy, said that he has been informed of disappearance of the girls and will inquire about the matter.