E/CN.4/1997/4/Add.2 page 2 Introduction 1. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, represented by its Chairman, Mr. L. Joinet, accompanied by the Group's secretary, visited Nepal at the invitation of that country's Government from 22 to 29 April 1996. It should be pointed out that, when the Working Group informed the Nepalese Chargé d'affaires in Geneva of its wish to travel to Nepal, its intention had been solely to visit the Bhutanese refugee camps in eastern Nepal in order to gain a better understanding, in the context of the follow-up visit to Bhutan which had been agreed with the Thimphu authorities, of the human rights implications of the situation there. In response, the Nepalese authorities had indicated that the Working Group would be free to visit the refugee camps, provided that the Government was not involved in any way in preparing or conducting such a visit, and furthermore proposed that the Working Group should at the same time visit the country within the framework of its mandate. 2. During its stay in Nepal, the Working Group met the Director General of the Prison Administration Department (Ministry of the Interior), the Assistant Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General (legal adviser to the Government), as well as the directors of the various prisons and places of detention visited. The Working Group also met the chief district officers of Morang and Jhapa, as well as judges of the district courts of Morang (in Biratnagar) and Gorkha. 3. In addition, the Working Group had fruitful meetings with members of the human rights committee of the Bar Association, convened by its chairman, and later with the President of the National Bar Association and with lawyers attached to the Supreme Court. 4. In Kathmandu, the Working Group visited the central prison (800 prisoners), the Bhadra Gol prison (400 prisoners) and the Dilli Bazar prison (162 prisoners), as well as the detention facilities of the “Hanouman Dhoka” police station. The Group also travelled to Gorkha, where it visited the local prison. At all those prisons, as well as in the police stations of the capital and provinces, the Group enjoyed great freedom of action: complete freedom of movement and freedom to choose which detainees to interview and where, the interviews being conducted solely in the presence of the delegation. 5. Regarding non-governmental contacts, the Working Group had meetings with numerous representatives of non-governmental organizations. 6. The Working Group also held two meetings with senior staff of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kathmandu. 7. UNDP and the United Nations Information Centre provided the Working Group during its stay and travels with valuable assistance (logistics, interpretation, contacts), which greatly facilitated the mission.