Nepal: Annan welcomes reinstatement of parliament, Maoist ceasefire

27 April 2006

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed a recent royal proclamation in strife-torn Nepal reinstating Parliament and said this move, along with a decision by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to declare a ceasefire, opens the door for a political solution to end the decade-old conflict in the Himalayan kingdom.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed a recent royal proclamation in strife-torn Nepal reinstating Parliament and said this move, along with a decision by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to declare a ceasefire, opens the door for a political solution to end the decade-old conflict in the Himalayan kingdom.

A UN spokesman said Mr. Annan considers the 24 April proclamation by King Gyanendra “a positive step” toward addressing the underlying causes of the violence “on the basis of the wishes of the Nepali people” and he also says that the Maoist's three-month ceasefire should be honoured by all to allow for meaningful negotiations.

The Secretary-General “trusts that the ceasefire will be reciprocated and that both sides will continue to exercise restraint and wisdom in managing what will be a complex democratic transition through patient dialogue,” the Secretary-General's spokesman told reporters in New York.

Echoing Mr. Annan's comments, the UN Human Rights Office in Nepal also welcomed the Maoist ceasefire, saying it offered an opportunity for the Communist Party of Nepal “to implement its commitment to human rights and humanitarian principles” by following through on certain key steps.

“Firstly, it should immediately release all civilians abducted and still held by them; secondly, it should ensure that its cadres do not pressure or intimidate civilians from different political parties, and so respect political pluralism; and thirdly, it should end actions it has taken against the families of security forces personnel,” said Ian Martin, Representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal.

In a related development, the OHCHR also deplored the latest killing of seven unarmed civilians by the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) in Belbari, Morang District on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, calling for a full investigation as well as action to ensure that no further deadly shootings occur.

“It is essential, as part of Nepal's current transition, that a new ethos of accountability is established. The shooting of unarmed civilians is inexcusable, and it is vital in order to establish public trust in the rule of law that an appropriate investigation be completed and sanctions imposed on those responsible,” said Mr. Martin.

OHCHR-Nepal said that this is the second time in less than 10 days that RNA soldiers have opened fire with live ammunition on civilians in the Eastern Region, following the shooting at demonstrators at Chandragadhi, Jhapa District on 19 April, which resulted in two fatalities and at least 13 civilians suffering bullet wounds.

OHCHR-Nepal is continuing to investigate all killings in the course of the 19 days of public demonstrations across the country, and will make its findings available to any official inquiry established by the new government.

 

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