The Security Council should act promptly and authorize an advanced United Nations team to go to Nepal and assist with the nascent peace process and preparations for next year’s elections, following the deal ending 10-years of civil war that killed 15,000 people and displaced over 100,000 others, the top UN envoy to the country said today.
Briefing the Council on last week’s landmark peace agreement between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative in the Himalayan country Ian Martin said it represents “the most promising opportunity for the establishment of lasting peace and far-reaching reform.”
“The United Nations’ response should be prompt and effective,” Mr. Martin told the Council, referring to a letter from Secretary-General Kofi Annan in which he recommended deploying an advance group of up to 60 to monitor the management of arms and armed personnel, as well as advice on the 2007 polls.
Mr. Annan also proposed in the letter, which was sent to the Council last Wednesday, deployment of a “technical assessment mission” ahead of a full political mission to provide the assistance that both sides have requested, including verifying and monitoring cantonment of the rebel fighters and the confinement to barracks of Government soldiers.
In today’s briefing to the Council, Mr. Martin said it was important for the confidence of the political process in Nepal that the UN extend, and be seen to extend, operational support as soon as possible, adding that recent developments in the country represent “an opportunity” to be grasped.
Following the discussions, he said he was gratified by the positive reaction of Council members and their recognition of the need for a speedy UN response.
In a related development in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour described the recent peace deal in Nepal as a “crucial step towards setting the foundations for democratic transition in which the protection and promotion of the human rights of all Nepalis must be central.”
“However, the parties must translate their commitments into meaningful actions to end on-going abuses. As the country moves into this critical transition phase, consolidating the rule of law through professional policing and a strong criminal justice system will be key measures to be taken,” she said at the opening of the third session of the enhanced Human Rights Council.