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Nepal: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 10382, tabled on 13 September 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of Article 26(3) of the Nepalese Constitution on freedom of religion or belief in Nepal.

Answered on

9 October 2017

The Constitution of Nepal, 2015 under article 26 (1) guarantees freedom of religion as a fundamental right. Sub-article 3 states that in exercise of the right conferred by this article, one cannot do, or cause to be done, any act which may be contrary to public health, decency and morality, breach public peace, convert another person from one religion to another or any other act or conduct that may jeopardize another’s religion. These subsequent provisions may be interpreted in a way that would limit people’s rights to express their religion and, potentially, their right to choose their religion.

Our Embassy in Kathmandu has consistently encouraged the Government of Nepal and members of Nepal’s parliament to ensure Nepal meets its international human rights obligations. This includes ensuring freedom of religion or belief. I raised these issues with the Nepalese Ambassador to London at a meeting on 9 October.

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