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UN war report draws mixed reaction in Nepal

Publication Date : 10-10-2012


A Maoist conflict report released by the United Nation's Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) has drawn mixed response from Nepali stakeholders.

The OHCHR on Monday released the "Nepal Conflict Report" on human rights violations committed during the 10-year armed Maoist conflict.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) hailed the report as “the most comprehensive and systematic mapping of crimes,” and said it has led to the creation of a base to further investigate and persecute perpetrators.

It, however, expressed disappointment at not being provided the report for study before its launch.

“We had an agreement that the report would be given to us for institutional inputs before its launch as it has incorporated cases identified by the commission too,” said NHRC Spokesperson Gauri Pradhan.

“The report should facilitate justice for the victims,” Pradhan added.

Chairman of the Informal Sector Service Centre  Subodh Raj Pyakurel said the report has boosted the morale of human rights defenders who are fighting impunity. 

“We have been demanding a judicial mechanism to deliver justice to victims, but the government always turned a deaf ear to our calls,” he said.

However, Chairman of the Human Rights Alliance Ganesh B.K. said it would have been better had the OHCHR consulted the political parties and civil society before the launch.

“We appreciate the content, but the manner in which it was made public was not right,” he said.

He said the report would have carried more weight had the OHCHR published it within its mandate in Nepal. “There are chances the report will not be taken seriously,” he said.

The report comes despite strong opposition from the government.

The report has raised the government’s hackles as it came at an inopportune moment and it could possibly wreck the already fragile peace process, a European Union envoy who met Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said on Monday.

“It is natural for the government to be defensive as the report details the magnitude and level of crimes, which has automatically raised the threshold of the government set standards for crime,” said advocate and rights defender Hari Phuyal.

The 233-page report is a database of around 30,000 documents and cases of international human rights law and international humanitarian law violations that occurred during the conflict.

The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)-led government last week promoted Colonel Raju Basnet, who is accused of torture and forced disappearance, and also withdrew criminal cases against Maoist leaders.

The party has yet to respond officially. But its Spokesperson Agni Sapkota, who is also accused of rights violations, told the Post that his party will comment only after thoroughly studying the report.

The Nepal Army said the government’s position was its position and refused to comment further.


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