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Government And Maoists must Refrain From Violence

Nepal: UN Rights Office Urges Government And Maoists To Refrain From Violence

New York, Dec 7 2009 1:10PM In the wake of clashes following a recent eviction drive in eastern Nepal, the United Nations human rights office in the Asian nation today called on the Government and Maoists to take a step back from further violence.

The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) said in a press release that it is looking into excessive use of force by security personnel during the drive initiated by the District Forest Office in Dudhejhari forest area in Kailali district.

According to reports, three people died and security forces were attacked by those resisting eviction with traditional weapons, including axes, with a police officer killed.

Over 40 civilians and nine police officers sustained injuries in the incident.

“Through our field presence, we have been monitoring the situation and interacting with actors on the ground to minimize the chances of further violence,” said Richard Bennett, Representative of OHCHR-Nepal.

He called on the Government and the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) to “exercise restraint and prevent any incidents, which could further aggravate the fragile situation in the region.”

The Representative has also expressed concern over the reported promotions of people suspected of killing of Birendra Sah, a correspondent for the Nepalese private radio station Nepal FM, the Dristri Weekly and the television channel Avenues TV.

Mr. Sah, 34, was abducted from his home in Bara district on 5 October and killed on the same day, according to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), a move condemned last month by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

His death was only made public on 5 November when the Maoist Party of Nepal admitted having killed the journalist.

Mr. Bennett voiced his concern over the promotions of two of the four suspects, in spite of repeated calls by OHCHR-Nepal, accused of killing the journalists during a meeting with a senior UCPN-M official last Friday.

Lal Bahadur Chaudhary and Kundan Phaoujdar were named secretariat members of the UCPN-M’s Bara district committee.

“When I have previously raised my concerns about the case of Birendra Sah with UCPN-M leadership, I have been assured that the accused are no longer with the Party,” Mr. Bennett said.

“I am shocked to learn that two accused cadres, against whom there are outstanding arrest warrants, have been promoted within the Party,” he added.

ENDS

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