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Impunity Must End For Violence To Stop In Nepal

Impunity must end for violence to stop in south-central Nepal, UN officials say

19 June 2008 - United Nations human rights officials in Nepal have warned that the cycle of violence in the south-central district of Kapilvastu will continue unless impunity ends for the perpetrators of attacks and respect for the rule of law is re-established.

Representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) visited several towns and villages this week in Kapilvastu, where 14 people died last September amid riots and widespread violence.

The officials met with some of the victims of the violence, as well as with police officers, human rights defenders, local authorities and staff from UN agencies.

OHCHR-Nepal representative Richard Bennett said it was important to complete a thorough investigation of last year's deadly violence and to start prosecuting those responsible for the attacks.

He stressed that the security of communities can only be guaranteed when everyone demonstrates a commitment to tolerance and authorities show initiative in building confidence among the population.

"Although some steps were taken at the local level to improve the security of the local population, the authorities and local political leaders need to do much more to restore communities' confidence in the State, and they should be allowed to undertake their important work free from political interference," Mr. Bennett said.

A report issued by OHCHR-Nepal recommended that the key findings of a judicial commission set up in the wake of the killings be made public and then implemented.

It also called for reforms to public security operations and training, and urged that representatives of victims and internally displaced persons (IDPs) be more involved in district-level decision-making.

ENDS

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