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Nepal: UN to build on recent positive steps

UN political official leaves for Nepal to build on recent positive steps

After last month’s reinstatement of Parliament and a ceasefire by Maoist rebels stemmed weeks of civil violence in Nepal, a United Nations political official left for the Himalayan nation today to review the situation and help build on those positive developments, towards a negotiated solution to the country's instability.

Tamrat Samuel of the UN Department for Political Affairs will visit the mountain kingdom following the 24 April proclamation of by King Gyanendra to reinstate the legislative body, along with his reciprocation of a three-month unilateral ceasefire previously announced by the Communist Party of Nepal.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been calling for the restoration of “democratic freedoms and institutions” ever since the King dissolved parliament, imposed a state of emergency and suspended civil liberties in February 2005, citing the threat of the Maoist rebellion.

When the seven-party alliance of political opponents of the Government called for protests early last month to restore the democratic institutions, the Government banned demonstrations in the capital, Katmandu, and reportedly arrested many opponents.

Weeks of mass demonstrations throughout the country ensued, along with reportedly violent reactions – in many cases, from police and armed forces – that UN human rights monitors say resulted in multiple fatalities.

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