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UN Nepal rights office urges political groups to respect obligations

[JURIST] The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) [official website] has urged the Seven Party Alliance Government and the Maoist faction in Nepal [JURIST news archive] to adhere to their commitments to protect human rights, saying in a statement Thursday that although there have been efforts to combat impunity those "measures have been far from adequate." The statement follows the October 18 appointment of Lena Sundh [press release], a Swedish diplomat, as head of OHCHR-Nepal.

OHCHR-Nepal, created in accordance to an agreement between OHCHR and the Nepalese government [PDF text] in April 2005, has a mandate to monitor, investigate and verify the situation of human rights in Nepal. The human rights office has criticized fighters [JURIST report] belonging to the Nepali Maoist party [party website; BBC profile] for continued kidnappings, torture, and murder of political and civilian targets. OHCHR-Nepal urged all parties to "translate their written commitments to human rights into effective, long-lasting action" in order to "achieve lasting peace and justice." Opposition political parties, including the Maoists, conducted three weeks of pro-democracy protests [JURIST news archive] in April until King Gyanendra [official profile; BBC profile] agreed to reinstate parliament [JURIST report] and give up direct control of the government. The Maoist party has maintained that it is willing to renounce violence if the monarchy is completely removed from Nepal's constitution. Talks on a new interim constitution [JURIST report] are ongoing, but the Maoists claim the draft leaves the monarchy issue unresolved [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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