Category Archives: UWB Quick Take

UWB Quick Take

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Registers at EC for CA Polls

April 10 – Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Tuesday registered itself at the Election Commission for the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. The Maoist leaders, led by Dr Baburam Bhattarai, today submitted their application to register the CPN-M as a political party at the EC.

The former rebel party is participating in the elections following their entry into the mainstream politics. The date for the CA elections, as agreed by the eight parties, is set as June 20, which however, has to be formally announced by the interim government.

The Maoists have 83 seats in the interim parliament.The party has five ministerial portfolios in the current interim government. Earlier, CPN-M had been unable to register itself due to the lack of citizenship certificates of some of its central committee members.

Election Commission Invites Parties to Register

30 March: Even as uncertainties rule over the exact date of the election of the Constituent Assembly, the Election Commission today invited the political parties who want to contest in the Constituent Assembly elections to register themselves at the commission. At a press conference organised in the capital today, EC officials said the process of registering the political parties will begin from Saturday (March 31) and end on April 27. CA election is constitutionally slated for mid-June.

Chief Election Commissioner Bhojraj Pokhrel told reporters in a press conference in Kathmandu today that all parties wishing to contest the elections will have to apply for registration within the stated time with at least 10,000 signatures. The new constitutional provisions require both the old and new political parties to register at the EC. The parties that are currently represented at the interim parliament do not need to produce 10,000 signatures. They can simply re-register themselves. Pokhrel further informed that the verification of the signatures submitted with the parties’ registration applications would be completed within a week of the closing of the registration process. When asked whether the elections were possible within the stipulated time, Pokhrel said: “Our job is to prepare for the elections.”

OHCHR Nepal On Maina Sunuwar Case

For the Record, Press statement from OHCHR Nepal: OHCHR-Nepal insists on full investigation of Maina Sunuwar following exhumation of remains

A team from OHCHR-Nepal on Friday (March 23) monitored the exhumation of the remains thought to be those of Maina Sunuwar, the 15-year-old girl who was allegedly tortured and died in the custody of the (Royal) Nepalese Army (NA) in February 2004. The team was accompanied by an international forensic expert, who assisted forensic pathologists from the Department of Forensic Medicine at the Teaching Hospital in the exhumation after an offical request was received.

The remains were exhumed from the grounds of the NA’s Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre in Panchkhal, Kavre District, where military personnel are trained before being deployed on UN peacekeeping missions.

The exhumation marks a crucial step in the criminal investigation launched by police into the girl’s death, which has been stalled for many months due to the NA challenging the jurisdiction of civilian authorities over the case as well as the reluctance of authorities to proceed with an investigation.

As part of a court martial, the NA in September 2005 found three military personnel guilty of failing to dispose of the body properly. However, details regarding the court martial and the NA’s court of inquiry investigation that preceded it have never been made public. The NA has also failed to provide court of inquiry and court martial documentation to OHCHR despite repeated requests.

While the exhumation is a positive development, it is essential that police complete a thorough investigation, with full cooperation from the NA. During her visit to Nepal in January, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, received assurances from the NA Chief of Staff and the Home Minister that an investigation would be carried out without delay.

“The exhumation Friday of remains thought to be those of Maina Sunuwar marks a crucial step forward in the quest for justice for her alleged torture and death. A full criminal investigation by police must now proceed to determine who was responsible and to hold them fully accountable,” said Sandra Beidas Officer In Charge of OHCHR-Nepal.

Nepal: Martin Says Many Minor Maoists in Cantonments

KATHMANDU, March 22 – Head of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Ian Martin on Thursday said that there were substantial numbers of minors registered as combatants at the different Maoist cantonments across the country. Martin also said that the UNMIN believed that the number of those who were recruited by the Maoists after they signed the Ceasefire Code of Conduct with the government on 25 May 2006 was also significant. He said that both the minors and those recruited after the signing of the ceasefire code of conduct will have to be discharged when UNMIN begins the second phase of verification of Maoist combatants.

“I have made clear to the Maoist leadership that UNMIN believes that there are substantial numbers of minors in the cantonments as well as persons who were recruited after 25 May 2006, and I have asked for their (Maoists’) cooperation regarding their discharge, as the agreement requires,” said Martin.

He made the remarks at a press conference organized at the UN House in Pulchowk Thursday afternoon. Expressing sorrow over Wednesday’s killings in Rautahat, Martin said the incident had shocked the international community as it had shocked Nepal.

“The confrontation (in Rautahat) could and should have been avoided. I hope the perpetrators of the killings will be identified and brought to justice,” said Martin expressing hope that leaders of all groups will stop putting the lives of their followers at risk.

He also informed that the Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly would today adopt a resolution giving UNMIN a budget of US $88.8 million, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). He also informed that the total staffing of UNMIN will now grow to a little under 700 international personnel in all categories, including 186 arms monitors, 258 UN Volunteers, and little under 400 national staff.

Expressing regret that the government and the Maoists were yet to reach agreement regarding the arrangements for personal security of the Maoist leaders, Martin informed that the UNMIN had registered 96 weapons retained by the Maoists outside the cantonments.

Nepal Government Will Give Additional Rs. 50m to Maoists

The government today (25 Feb) decided to provided Rs 50 million per month to the Maoists for the management of Maoist cantonments that are set up at different regions across the country. In a meeting of the Maoist Cantonment Management Committee today, it was also decided that each Maoist combatant would be provided with a daily allowance of Rs 60.

The CPN-M today also submitted the expenditure details of Rs 35 million that has already been provided to the party by the government for the purpose of camp management. Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that whatever problems being faced by the Maoist combatants would be solved by the government after holding discussions with the Maoist leadership.

The government earlier had stopped allocating additional funds to the CPN-M after the latter did not provide the government with expenditure details. Today’s meeting also concentrated on the other problems that have been noticed in the Maoist cantonments.

Criticizing the government for not providing enough food, shelter and other essential amenities and stating that the living conditions in the cantonments were extremely poor, thousands of Maoist combatants had deserted their cantonments a few days ago. But, following criticism from all quarters including the government and the UN, the combatants returned to their respective cantonments.

EC to Nepal Govt.: Formulate Policies Soon

The Election Commission (EC) today urged the government of Nepal to formulate rules and regulations and to determine the election procedures for the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections as soon as possible. The commission said that the security situation must be strengthened and the government must extend the necessary assistance, adding that the EC couldn’t just “stage a drama” in the name of holding a timely constituent assembly elections.

Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel made the remarks today during a discussion with top leaders of the major parties in the commission office to brief them about the preparations undertaken by the commission for the CA elections. During the programme, CEC Pokhrel urged the government to immediately promulgate three election-related acts indispensable to the EC and announce the dates for the CA elections. “If security situation is not ensured, the commission cannot stage a drama in the name of holding the elections,” Pokhrel said. (more here)

United States Will Continue Assistance in Nepal

Feb 7The US Treasury Department has decided to allow the US Department of State and USAID to continue their assistance to Nepal even after the Maoists join the government. According to a knowledgeable source, the Department of Treasury approved a license to the State Department and USAID to continue US assistance to Nepal on February 5 even after the Maoists join the interim government. The license also applies to contractors and grantees of the State Department and USAID.

Despite this decision, the Maoists will continue to remain in the State Department’s Terrorist list as the Designated Global Terrorist, a knowledgeable source said. The source further said license does not apply to American individuals or organization working in Nepal without grants or contracts.

“Those organizations and individuals will still be required to apply to the Treasury Department for their own license if they wish to provide goods, services, including advice, or funds to the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists,” the source said. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) will continue to feature in the US list of terrorist organizations even after it joins the interim government, but the State Department will give clearance to US agencies working in Nepal to continue their operations.

Nepal Sets up Talks Team to Address Terai Unrest

Feb 2: In a bid to bring down tensions in the Terai region, the government of Nepal today set up a ministerial level talks team committee to hold dialogue with the agitating Madheshi community to resolve the Terai unrest. A meeting of the Counsil of Minister today morning set up the 3-member committee under the coordination of Agriculture Minister Mahanta Thakur. Likewise the meeting elected Minister for Local development Rajendra Pandey and State minister for Water Resource, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki as the other members of the committee. According to Minister for Law, Narendra Bikram Nemwang, the newly formed talks committee has been directed to immediately begin dialogues to address the demands of the Madheshi people. The government, however, has no plans to go into talks with ethnic groups and janajatis to address their longstanding demands for autonomy and self-governance at the moment. (more)

Nepal Army Sets Up a Separate Battalion for Madhesis

23 Jan As per the decision of the government of Nepal made in July last year, the Nepali Army (NA) has set up two separate battalions with the objective of including Madhesi and Kirat community. According to NA spokesperson Brigadier General Ananta Thebe, the Naya Sabuj battalion has been set up at Jaleshwore of Dhanusha to include Madhesi community whereas Ripumardini battalion has been set up at Hile of Dhankuta to include Kirat community, reports Nepal Samacharpatra daily. Thebe informed that both battalions were already in operation. In the Naya Sabuj battalion, people from only Madhesi community will be recruited whereas in Ripumardini battalion, people from only Kirat community will be recruited.

Nepali Army spokesperson Thebe added that there are over 50 indigenous communities working within the organisation of the NA. He said there are over 7000 army personnel from Madhesi community currently working in the NA. Likewise, there are over 6000 army personnel from Dalit community within it. The news report about the formation of a separate battalion for Madhesi community has come at a time when groups like Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) have accused that Madhesi community were not included in administration, police and army organisation.

Nepal Terai Tension: Two Killed

Two killed in fresh Lahan unrest, curfew imposed again

Jan 22- The relative calm in unrest-torn Lahan today morning proved short-lived when tensions soared in the afternoon after two people were killed in fresh clashes between police and protestors. The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) claims a ninth grader, 15-year old Pramod Sada of Lahan-4, Mirzapur, and another Bijaya Kumar Sahani were killed in the incident when the police opened fire on thousands of demonstrators when they descended on the unit police station in Lahan.Meanwhile, talking to ekantipur over the phone, Chief District Officer Shashi Shekhar Shrestha said that the police had opened fire in self–defense. (more)

Two more injured in Lahan violence die

Jan 23 Two more persons, who were injured in a clash between Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) activists and police in Lahan, Siraha district, yesterday died Tuesday. The dead have been identified as 18-year old Mohammad Mudasin and 32-year old Bechan Yadav. Mudasin died while undergoing treatment at the Army Hospital in Chhauni, Kathmandu, while Yadav died while being taken to Kathmandu for treatment.

An army helicopter had airlifted 14 injured persons including three policemen to Kathmandu for treatment last night. Nine persons are still undergoing treatment at the army hospital. The injured policemen are undergoing treatment at the police hospital.