UN rights chief warns Nepal peace process at risk from impunity News
UN rights chief warns Nepal peace process at risk from impunity

[JURIST] The peace process in Nepal [JURIST news archive] could be hampered by "impunity for human rights abuses" [UN News Centre report], UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile; JURIST news archive] said Sunday. At a Kathmandu news conference concluding her five-day visit to Nepal, Pillay cited abuses including the failure of Nepal's commissions on disappearances and truth and reconciliation to ensure justice for victims of abuse and recent "arbitrary actions" taken against journalists and other human rights activists. Pillay said:

The demands of victims' families are not mere wishes they are supported by law. And until these demands for justice are fulfilled and accountability for past, and in particular ongoing, violations is ensured, a truly new Nepal will not emerge, and indeed, the peace process could be jeopardised.

Pillay is seeking a three year extension [Kantipur report] of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) [official website] in order to "address the remaining challenges."

The decade-long Maoist guerrilla insurgency that left more than 13,000 people dead ended [JURIST report] in late 2006 when the Nepalese government signed a peace agreement that established the Nepalese Constituent Assembly (CA) [official website]. In November, the CA announced [press release; JURIST report] that it will finish drafting the country's new constitution within 18 months. In May, the CA voted to abolish the country's monarchy [JURIST report], giving King Gyanendera 15 days to abandon his royal palace, which cleared the way for Maoists to serve in government. As part of the peace accord, the CA was elected [JURIST report] last April, an organization dominated by members of the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoists (CPN-M) [party website].