Kathmandu: The United Nations voiced concern on Thursday over a decision by Nepal`s Maoist-led government to appoint a minister accused of war crimes during the country`s 10-year insurgency.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged Nepalese authorities to investigate Suryaman Dong`s alleged involvement in the death of Arjun Lama, whom witnesses say was abducted from his village in 2005 by Maoist insurgents and later killed.
The OHCHR said in a statement the appointment would "undermine efforts to address impunity in the country, and taint recent positive progress on the peace process".
The OHCHR also criticised the Maoists for seeking clemency for lawmaker Bal Krishna Dhungel, who was convicted in 2004 on murder charges.
"Such decisions will establish a trend to entrench impunity and send the wrong message at the wrong time," Jyoti Sanghera, head of the OHCHR in Nepal, was quoted as saying.
"The government should respect Nepal`s judiciary and the rule of law."
But the Maoists dismissed the statement as "politically motivated".
"This has come as a political slogan. I don`t want to blame everyone but there are certain people who want to gain political advantage by raising this issue," said Skakti Bassnet, a member of the party`s politburo, without elaborating.