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Bush bill conditions Nepal assistance on civil liberties, UN access to detainees

[JURIST] President Bush is set to sign a bill [text] this week providing for US military assistance to Nepal [JURIST news archive] if its government "has restored civil liberties, is protecting human rights, and has demonstrated, through dialogue with Nepal's political parties, a commitment to a clear timetable to restore multi-party democratic government consistent with the 1990 Nepalese Constitution." Another condition requires Nepal to grant the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] and other international organizations unimpeded access to all political detainees and places of detention and honor habeas corpus orders issued by Nepalese courts. The provisions come shortly after US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld defended [JURIST report] the US government's refusal to permit UN rights observers [JURIST report] from interviewing its own detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Nepal's King Gyanendra seized power [JURIST report] in February, dismissing the government, jailing politicians and suspending civil liberties, saying he had to act to crush the anti-monarchy Maoist insurgency. Kantipur Online has local coverage.

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