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UN body urges Nepal Maoists to stop parallel 'law enforcement' violating rights

[JURIST] A UN human rights body has called the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoists (CPN-M) [party website] to stop its parallel law enforcement activities, which has resulted into "serious" human rights abuses in Nepal recently. "OHCHR-Nepal calls again on the CPN-M leadership to stop all parallel 'law enforcement' activities, and especially incidents of torture and ill-treatment," Sandra Beidas, Officer-in-Charge of OHCHR-Nepal said in a statement emailed to media on Tuesday, "State authorities have sole responsibility to arrest and detain criminal suspects, and it is essential for the re-establishment of the rule of law that all parties respect this."

The rebels, who are engaged in the ceasefire and peace talks with Nepalese government since April this year, have intensified their "law enforcement activities" in the recent days, especially in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu. The UN body said such parallel "law enforcement" activities are "illegal" as well as in violation of international human rights standards to which CPN-Maoist has made repeated commitments.

OHCHR-Nepal says the activities are taking place despite the Maoists' commitments in September this year to respect international human rights standards. The rebel group, which has been in what they called People's War since February 1996, had then clearly stated that its cadres shall not conduct abductions, torture and ill-treatment, and that those responsible for such actions would be held accountable.

According to the UN body, the Maoists have abducted 39 individuals in the Kathmandu valley in October alone. The rebels themselves have declared on October 21 that they had taken more than 80 individuals in their captivity. The individuals had been held incommunicado in hidden locations, increasing their vulnerability to human rights abuses. OHCHR-Nepal also says the rebels have also at times prevented it from gaining immediate access to those in captivity.

Kiran Chapagain is a special correspondent for JURIST and an Assistant Senior Reporter for the Kathmandu Post. He is currently in New York as a Third Millennium Foundation fellow.

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