Rights watchdogs slam deal between Maoists, Madhesi parties
Last Updated: Sunday, September 04, 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.


First Published: Saturday, September 03, 2011, 21:07

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