-  Wednesday 16 October 2019

Ban Ki-Moon for extending mandate of UN mission in Nepal

 -  Hindu

Jan 11 2008 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has proposed extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) for another six months so that it can continue to support the country's peace process and help conduct the key Constituent Assembly polls.

In his latest report to the Security Council, Ban stated that the mission should maintain its existing staff strength in the Himalayan nation.

An agreement signed last month between the Nepal Government and the Maoists on key issues of the country's transition to peace paved the way for holding of the twice postponed Constituent Assembly election by mid-April.

Once elected, the Assembly will draft a new constitution for Nepal, where an estimated 13,000 people were killed during the decade-long civil conflict that formally ended when the Government and Maoists signed a peace accord in 2006.

Ban advised against any downsizing of the UN's presence in the country, stressing that it could endanger prospects for a successful election in the newly agreed time frame.

"The deployment of international personnel to the regions and districts of Nepal has consistently been regarded as a key factor in creating a free and fair atmosphere for the election," he said.

"Not only is such an atmosphere required in the last stages of the electoral process but it also needs to be established with urgency for a successful election by April 12," he adds.

Welcoming the decision by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) to rejoin the interim Government, Ban warned that "the remaining political challenges, which could negatively affect the electoral calendar, should not be underestimated."

Among these is the need to respond to the concerns of traditionally marginalised groups, he said.

In addition, he notes that it will be difficult to ensure a credible and fair election unless the state can provide security to its citizens during the election period.

"The Interim Government and the Seven-Party Alliance must give law and order a very high priority," he said.

Along with electoral assistance, UNMIN is also tasked with monitoring the arms and armies of the Maoists and the Nepal Army, who are confined to cantonments and barracks in the lead-up to the election.

In that regard, the second phase of registration and verification of Maoist army personnel was completed on December 23, Ban stated, adding that the next step will be to release and reintegrate the "unqualified" personnel.

Source : Hindu
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