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UN appoints human rights commissioner for Nepal

By Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
April 29, 2005 21:01 IST
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The United Nations has appointed a new high commissioner for human rights operations in Nepal to help establish accountability for rights abuses and prevent further violations amid the 'climate of violence' and armed conflict involving Maoists in the Himalayan Kingdom.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, has appointed Ian Martin as head of the new Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights operation in Nepal, said a press release issued by the UN office in Nepal.

The appointment was made as per the agreement between the OHCHR and the Nepal government, the release said.

"Our new office in Nepal is extremely important and I am pleased to have… Martin to lead our efforts there," Arbour said.

Martin, with 30 years of experience in the field of human rights, has served as the secretary-general of Amnesty International from 1986 to 1992 and human rights director of the UN in Haiti from 1993 to 95. He is presently the vice-president of the New York-based human rights nongovernmental organisation, the International Centre for Transitional Justice.

As per the agreement, the OHCHR office in Nepal will monitor the observance of human rights and international humanitarian law, bearing in mind the climate of violence and the international and armed conflict in the country.

Arbour stressed that 'breaking the cycle of serious and systematic abuses will be the first essential step toward achieving peace and reconciliation in Nepal'.

Under the agreement between the UN and the Nepal government, a first group of eight human rights monitors and support staff will arrive in the country shortly, taking the total number of operation staff to 12.

Preparations are already underway for the fielding of a larger contingent to be deployed throughout the country in the coming months, the UN release said.

The high commissioner should submit periodic analytic reports on human rights violations committed by either side of the conflict in Nepal to the Commission, the General Assembly and the UN Secretary General.


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Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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