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		Nepal: A spiralling human rights crisis
        Nepal's six-year-old "people's war" has generated a
        human rights crisis that is putting the country's future at
        risk, Amnesty International said today in a new report.
        The report provides a comprehensive background to the
        conflict, describing abuses by both sides, and makes
        several recommendations. 
        Human rights protection has been swept aside as both
        the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN, Maoist) and
        government security forces have engaged in
        "disappearances", abductions, torture and unlawful
        killings.
        "The conflict has had a grave impact on civilians. Scores
        of civilians are likely to be among the 1,300 suspected
        Maoists killed by the security forces and the Maoists have
        killed more than 440 civilians believed to be 'enemies of
        the revolution'," Amnesty International said.
        Ignoring the rules of war, the police have killed several
        hundred Maoists who should have been taken into
        custody and the Maoists have executed scores of police
        officers who were wounded, taken prisoner or who had
        surrendered.
        The situation has deteriorated since peace talks broke down and
	a state of emergency was declared in November last year. Police
        have arrested more than 5000 people, and special
        counter-terrorism measures have undermined basic human rights.
        "Where is the accountability when the head of police has said that
	police officers have killed innocent people and maltreated locals 
	during patrols? This cycle of violence will not be broken
        until the government takes serious action to investigate human
	rights violations and punish those responsible," Amnesty International said.
        At least 29 teachers have been deliberately killed by the Maoists, 
	including two members of Amnesty International. The dead body of 
	Lekhnath Gautam, a 34-year-old teacher and father of three, was 
	found on 23 March 2002 in Panchthar district. Maoists abducted him 
	from his home in the middle of the night two days earlier. Like many 
	teachers before him, he was probably killed because of his membership
	of the Nepal Teachers' Association which is considered close to the 
	ruling Nepali Congress Party (NC). Scores of teachers have also been
    	maimed. Amnesty International has appealed directly to the Maoist 
	leadership to respect the rules of war.
        The Maoists, who now control a sizable proportion of the country, have
	taken around 500 people hostage, tortured scores of people, sentenced 
	people to death in "people's courts", and recruited child soldiers. 
	They have targetted not only the security forces but also socio-economic
	targets such as factories and telecommunications towers. 
        While recognising the grave security threat posed by the "people's war"
	Amnesty International is urging the government to adopt a broad-based 
	strategy to ensure protection of the full range of human rights including
	access to education, services and economic development.
        Amnesty International's report also said that the international community
	has been slow to wake up to the human rights crisis in Nepal and should 
	offer sustained assistance to bring about a resolution. The turmoil in 
	Nepal could exacerbate already high regional tensions.
        "Nepal is facing a downward spiral of violence and instability -- respect 
	for human rights must be at the heart of urgent efforts to stop and reverse
	this decline," Amnesty International said.
        			Background -- The People's War
             February 1996 -- The Maoists declare the "people's war"
             May 1998 -- Human rights violations increase dramatically after police
			launch a "security mobilisation operation" 
             February 2000 -- UN expert on unlawful killing visits Nepal and urges 
			 the international community to support the government 
			with resources, including funding and expertise.
             Mid 2001 -- Maoists set up "people's government" in 22 districts
             23 November 2001 -- Peace talks break down, Maoists attack police 
			 and army posts in 42 districts
             26 November 2001-- State of emergency declared. New anti-terrorism 
			 measures give wide powers to the security forces.
        		For a copy of the report visit 
		http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/recent/asa310162002
                    
Links To Other Organizations Applicable International Law Treaties
humanrightswatch.org The UN Charter
amnesty.org
The Convention on Prevention & Punishment of Genocide
unhcr.ch Regional Treaties
irin.org
International Treaties on Warfare
United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
umn.edu/humanrts.org Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity
genocidewatch.org

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