-  Thursday 01 October 2020

Punish rights abusers, UN official tells Nepal

 -  Gulf Times

KATHMANDU: The United Nations urged the Nepali government and Maoists, after striking a landmark peace deal, to punish army officers and former rebel commanders who were guilty of violating human rights in a decade-long civil war.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour told reporters yesterday that she had pressed for an end to impunity in her meetings with government and Maoist leaders during a six-day visit that ended yesterday.

Local and international human rights groups accused both army and Maoists of murders, kidnappings, disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture during a conflict that killed more than 13,000 people.

“I believe there should be prosecution of those most responsible for these levels of gross violations of human rights,” Arbour said.
“There is no prospect for sustainable peace without the personal accountability of those who have perpetrated these abuses,” she said.
In November, the multiparty government and the Maoists signed a deal declaring an end to the anti-monarchy insurgency that also displaced some 200,000 people.

Under the deal, Maoists have joined a temporary parliament and are to be named in an interim government after storing their arms under UN supervision.

Arbour also visited the countryside ravaged by the war and met families whose relatives had disappeared after being detained by soldiers or kidnapped by the former rebels.

“The suffering they expressed is testament to the fact that disappearances are on-going human rights violations,” the UN rights chief said.
She urged both government and Maoists to “clarify the whereabouts or fate of all those who disappeared, and to provide justice and redress for their families”.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council approved Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s proposal to set up a political mission in Nepal to assist the peace process.

A UN Mission in Nepal comprising 186 officials will be established initially for 12 months but can be extended.
The mission, to be headed by a special representative of the UN, will include monitors to keep watch at Maoist camps to ensure that the rebels do not take up the weapons they have begun to lay down. A smaller team of electoral experts will also help with the June elections.
The mission will also include human rights monitors to promote a justice system accessible to all segments of society, especially women, Dalits, survivors of sexual violence and the rural poor.

The UN Security Council last month approved of an advanced group of 35 arms monitors and 25 election experts to start aiding the Nepal peace process following a tripartite pact signed between Nepal’s seven-party government, the Maoists and UN envoy in Nepal Ian Martin.

Gulf Times

Other articles by reporter Gulf Times

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