Thursday, December 01, 2005

Judiciary to act independently :UN Rights Chief

Kathmandu, Dec 1-UN human rights chief Louise Arbour said "I call upon the judiciary to act independently in upholding Nepal's international human rights obligations, and upon the Government and the security forces to respect the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly." and warned on Thursday that Nepal faced the threat of a full-scale armed conflict, and called on authorities to join a ceasefire with Maoist rebels and allow free assembly, AFP reported from Geneva.

Arbour underlined that a reinforced government clampdown on the media, political parties and non-governmental organisations breached international human rights standards.

"Local administration and the security forces have extended banned areas and obstructed freedom of movement in order to inhibit peaceful demonstrations," she added.

"A mutual ceasefire between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the government of King Gyanendra, and steps towards lasting peace, are crucial to bring to an end a period of grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by both the Maoists and the State", Arbour said in a statement.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights joined calls for Maoist rebels to extend a unilateral ceasefire, which is due to end this week and urged the Nepal government to join it.
"I am seriously concerned about the very real possibility that full-scale armed conflict could resume," she added.

Last week, the Maoists and the opposition parties agreed on an alliance to attempt to restore democracy.

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