Rights watchdogs slam deal between Maoists, Madhesi parties

Last Updated: Sunday, September 4, 2011 - 18:08

Kathmandu: International and local rights
watchdogs have flayed a reported deal between Nepal`s ruling
alliance, the Maoists and the Terai-based Madhesi front, to
withdraw cases and grant amnesty to people indicted of crimes
during and after the decade-long civil war in the country.

Amnesty International Nepal, Human Rights Watch,
International Commission of Jurists and Advocacy Forum,
appealed to New Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to honour the
commitments made by both the government and the Maoist party
to hold perpetrators of rights abuses accountable before the
law.

"The letter was issued in response to the four-point
agreement reached between the UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhesi
Front while signing the power sharing deal," they said in a
statement issued jointly by the four organisations.

The rights bodies also called upon the government to set
up an independent legal and institutional framework to ensure
that the criminal justice system and transitional justice
institutions, such as the proposed Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, can work effectively to end impunity.

They said the agreement between the UCPN-Maoist and the
Joint Democratic Madhesi Front, the key ally of the ruling
coalition, calls for the withdrawal of criminal cases during
the country`s armed conflict, which is against international
practices.

The Maoists joined mainstream politics after the end of
the civil war in 2006.

Bhupendra Khanal, coordinator of Advocacy Forum, said the
proposal to withdraw criminal cases against people accused of
human rights abuses and grant them amnesty would deprive the
victims who suffered at their hands of fundamental rights,
including the right to an effective remedy.

"This agreement would threaten the principles of
constitutional supremacy, judicial independence, and the rule
of law," he underlined.

However, Bhattarai has denied that any agreement to
acquit the culprits has been reached.

"Decision was made to acquit only those implicated by the
state on fake charges during the People`s War, and Madhes,
Tharuhat and other movements," Bhattarai said during a meeting
with the human rights activists at the UCPN-Maoist office in
the capital yesterday.

Bhattarai said the bills on Truth and Reconciliation
Commission and Disappearance Commission will be introduced
soon in parliament and pledged action against human rights
violators and an end to the culture of impunity in the
country.

Bhattarai was sworn in on August 29 as the 35th Prime
Minister after Jhala Nath Khanal quit on August 14 for failing
to make "concrete" progress in Nepal`s 2006 peace process.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 21:07

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