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UN rights chief warns of 'grave' rights violations in Nepal

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile; JURIST news archive] has warned [press release] that the Nepalese government and Maoist rebels must take "steps towards lasting peace" in order to avoid "grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law" being committed by both sides. Arbour also cautioned that Nepal [JURIST news archive] faces a real possibility of a full-scale armed conflict if its government fails to extend a ceasefire with Maoist rebels and that the government's recent clampdown on the media [JURIST report] and political parties like the Maoists violates international human rights standards and further frustrates efforts to re-negotiate the ceasefire agreement, which is due to end this week. The Nepalese government has banned a Maoist protest scheduled for Friday, after the communist party agreed to join other opposition parties to attempt to restore democracy to the Himalayan kingdom. Civil unrest and government restrictions on the media and civil liberties [JURIST report] have been on the rise in Nepal since King Gyanendra [official profile] sacked the government and assumed total control of the country in February. AFP has more.

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