Senior UN official in Nepal urges authorities to arrest killers of local businessman

29 December 2008

The top United Nations human rights official in Nepal pressed its Government today to bring justice for a local businessman murdered by members of the Maoist army earlier this year.

Some six months after five people were charged in relation to the disappearance and killing of Ram Hari Shrestha, only one individual has been arrested, the Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, Richard Bennett, told the Nepalese Home Minister in a meeting.

Some of the others suspected of abducting and beating Mr. Shrestha to death in the South Asian country’s Chitwan District in May are believed to be inside the cantonment of the Maoist Army in the same region.

Two letters sent by Chitwan District Police to the Maoist Army’s 3rd Division requesting an interview with one of its military commanders have not been answered, according to a press release issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal, which voiced extreme concern over the lack of progress in the case.

“My Office notes that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has repeatedly expressed his Government’s commitment to end impunity and respect all human rights, most recently on Human Rights Day, 10 December,” said Mr. Bennett.

“Holding accountable those who tortured and killed Ram Hari Shrestha would send a welcome signal that the Government intends to deliver on that commitment,” he added.

OHCHR-Nepal noted that while the leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) has committed to taking action, local leaders are not cooperating with the Chitwan Police investigation, making it difficult to arrest those charged.

Mr. Bennett recommended that the report of the commission investigating the crime, which was submitted to the Government in July, be made public and available to help police and prosecutors complete their investigations.

During the meeting the Representative also expressed concern that National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recommendations made to the Government had been ignored before the Home Minister undertook to act on the requests.

 

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