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Nepal: UN Deplores Violence Against Protesters

Top UN official in Nepal deplores violence against protesters

19 February 2008 – The Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Nepal today expressed deep concern over the recent violence in the Terai region which has claimed one life and seriously injured many others.

Children were reportedly involved in the violence, and police used tear gas, rubber bullets and even live ammunition. Meanwhile, protesters threw stones at police, injuring them, and vandalized property.

“I have appealed to the Home Minister to take all possible measures to avoid excessive use of force, and to leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front to call on protesters to remain peaceful and to avoid the involvement of children in demonstrations,” Ian Martin, who also heads the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), said in a statement issued in the capital, Kathmandu.

He added that UNMIN has repeatedly appealed for the grievances of Madhesi and other marginalized groups to be dealt with peacefully through dialogue by the Government and the Seven-Party Alliance.

“I hope that all concerned will draw back from the brink of escalating violence and pursue the common interest of an inclusive Constituent Assembly election in a conducive climate,” Mr. Martin said.

Those polls – which were postponed twice last year – are now set to be held on 10 April.

Once elected, the Constituent Assembly is supposed to draft a new constitution for Nepal, where an estimated 13,000 people were killed during the decade-long civil conflict that formally ended when the Government and Maoists signed a peace accord in 2006.


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