Saturday, December 03, 2005

Govt, Maoists Must Declare Indefinite Ceasefires: ICJ

Kathmandu, Dec 3-International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has called on both sides to the conflict in Nepal to declare indefinite ceasefires and take the next steps towards peace.

"The Maoists' one month ceasefire extension is a small step but far from enough. The people of Nepal are suffering gravely at the hands of the Maoists and the Government and deserve more. Both sides should now declare indefinite ceasefires to allow for progress towards a genuine peace agreement that respects human rights and restoration of a constitutional, democratic government", said Nicholas Howen, Secretary-General of the ICJ.

Talking about the Maoists - parties aggreement Howen said, "I welcome this agreement and its human rights commitments. It is up to the Maoists to show that this time they are serious about implementing their paper pledges, including taking swift action whenever abuses are reported."
The agreement sets outs steps towards the restoration of democracy and accepts that the conflict can only be resolved through dialogue involving all Nepalis. It envisages a role for the UN or "any other reliable international supervision" to monitor the armed forces of both sides during elections to a constituent assembly, and recognises the need for international mediation.
"The ceasefire extension and the Maoist-political parties agreement create a unique opportunity. If the Government is serious about restoring peace and democracy it should declare its own ceasefire and embrace the steps set out in the agreement", said Nicholas Howen.
The ICJ also welcomed the statement of the meeting of a group of Nepal's development donors on 23 November 2005 which expressed continuing concern at violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by both sides of the conflict and called on all actors to commit to a durable ceasefire as a first step to a wider peace process.

Same as, Chief of UN Human Rights Office in Nepal, Ian Martin Saturday called on the government to declare ceasefire and stop the military action."It is equally important that the government reciprocate the ceasefire and at the very least they are not continuing volitions of human rights and humanitarian law by the security forces in the period ahead," said Martin at a programme in the capital today.

Saying that the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed the Maoist truce, he suggested the government to follow the path of peace.

He, however, expressed his grievances over the continuation of abduction from the Maoists and military action by the security forces.

Stating that the media ordinance and code of conduct for NGOs recently introduced by the government was against the human rights, Martin said, "The UN is closely monitoring the situation of Nepal."

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