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
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
"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
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