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Nepal: Concerned at recent violence, UN envoy urges sides to promote tolerance

Nepal: Concerned at recent violence, UN envoy urges sides to promote tolerance

Ian Martin
Responding to violence in Nepal, which has been the scene of deadly clashes in recent days, the senior United Nations envoy to the country has urged all parties to promote tolerance.

“I have to begin by expressing my dismay at the deaths, injuries and destruction of property that has taken place in the Terai in recent days, and the deep concern of the United Nations regarding the situation that has given rise to these,” Ian Martin, the Personal Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said on Friday.

“It is of course a matter of national responsibility to address this, but I add my voice to those calling on all parties to avoid violence and promote tolerance,” he said, warning that the UN's work in supporting a free and fair Constituent Assembly process “can only be jeopardized if the situation in the Terai continues or escalates.”

Mr. Martin also reviewed progress since the adoption, on 23 January, of a Security Council resolution establishing the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) following an historic agreement reached last November by the Maoists and Government aimed at ending 10 years of bloody civil war that killed around 15,000 people and displaced over 100,000 others. “On Wednesday two large aircraft landed at Kathmandu bringing communications and engineering equipment, together with the first two helicopters.”

Meanwhile, registration has been under way at the Maoist army main cantonment sites at Chitwan and Nawalparasi. Mr. Martin said cooperation had been excellent “in most respects with the Maoist army commanders.” There are 40 UN arms monitors working in Nepal, and that number is expected to rise to 186 under the full deployment.

On the electoral side, UNMIN continues to assist the national Election Commission in carrying out its tasks, providing technical advice and assistance regarding legislation, voter education and the updating of voter rolls, Mr. Martin said.

The Security Council set up UNMIN with a 12-month mandate to monitor the arms and armies of the combatants, and to support elections to the Constituent Assembly.

Mr. Ban, in a report to the Council earlier this month, warned that “if Nepal fails to meaningfully include traditionally marginalized groups in the peace process and in the election, and in the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly, the country will lose a crucial opportunity to harness the strength and the vision of its own people.”