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UN rights chief 'shocked' by force used against Nepal pro-democracy protesters

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] on Thursday expressed shock and dismay [press release] at the use of violence and arbitrary detention by police and security forces in the ongoing unrest [JURIST news archive] over pro-democracy protests in Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Arbour issued a statement calling on the Nepalese government to reign in police officials and reminding the government of its obligations under international law to use only necessary force towards civilians. Arbour also hinted that Nepal's forces currently involved in UN peacekeeping operations could be removed from service, as many of the same units assigned to the UN are also involved with handling civilian protests. Arbour said that violations observed by her office in Nepal would be reported to the relevant UN officials. eKantipur.com has local coverage.

Meanwhile, a visit to Nepal by a US Congressional delegation led by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) [official website] has been cancelled [press release] due to safety concerns. The US embassy in Nepal [official website] has also issued a travel warning [text] and an order allowing non-emergency personnel and family members of staff to leave the country. Nepal has been rocked by more than a week of country-wide protests in opposition to the direct rule of King Gyanendra [official website] imposed last year. AP has more.

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