UN human rights officials probe killings, violence in south-central Nepal

21 September 2007

United Nations human rights monitors are investigating the situation in south-central Nepal, where there have been reports of violence, killings and other atrocities in the past week since the death of a local leader.

Richard Bennett, the Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, told a press briefing today in Kathmandu that the monitors “will stay as long as necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation into this week’s tragic incidents.”

The monitors are on a joint mission with officials from the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) to assess the situation in and around Kapilvastu, where local leader Mohit Khan was killed last week.

In the wave of violence that followed, a police officer was killed and Mr. Bennett said that “in the last couple of days there have been reports of many more killings and of various atrocities committed against victims.”

Mr. Bennett, who visited Kapilvastu this week, said many locals are frustrated by what they say is Government inaction since the initial killings last weekend. Many residents were displaced in the violence and they have received no humanitarian relief. Law and order has also not been restored in some areas.

“Inadequate public security is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges to human rights – and the peace process – in Nepal today,” the newly appointed Representative said, adding that the violence in some areas, from both armed groups and the security forces, is jeopardizing the ability to hold free and fair Constituent Assembly elections that are scheduled for November.

He said an equally serious problem was the widespread impunity for those who carry out breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law, with many crimes not investigated at all.

“Ending impunity will require further strengthening of the legal framework,” said Mr. Bennett, who called on the Nepalese Government to do more to meet its international treaty obligations.

 

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