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Human rights situation deteriorating in the Terai region of Nepal

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Violence in the Terai region of Nepal has resulted in the deaths of 115 people in the last nine months. The National Human Rights Commission of Nepal has reported that the law and order situation did not improve as expected due to violence in the region.

(Bangkok, 13 November 2007) In the last nine months 115 people have been killed in Terai (also known as Tarai), the eastern and central region in Nepal, according to a report published by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Nepal. The NHRC also said that the Government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-Maoist) have not abided by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed by the two sides on 21 November 2006.

The NHRC’s report, “Status of Human Rights under the Comprehensive Peace Accord”1 was published on 6 November 2007. It provides information on the human rights situation in Nepal since February this year, focusing on the Terai region, and naming a number of groups that have been responsible for human rights abuses. Several armed groups are active in Terai, and are seeking autonomy and greater participation by the people of the region, the Madhesi, in the civil and security services of Nepal.

The report says that 30 people, including 27 CPN-Maoist cadres, were killed by Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) during the period in question. while 11 were killed by Jantantrik Terai Mukti Morcha-Jwala Singh (JTMM-J). Jantantrik Terai Mukti Morcha-Goit (JTMM-G) were reported to have carried out nine killings, with five attributed to CPN-Maoist. A further 16 killings were carried out by unidentified groups.

The NHRC said that they also received information about ten killings by the Nepalese Army and Police. The report goes on to state that 15 people were killed and over 47 injured by landmines and that14 persons were killed in an incident in the district of Kapilvastu.

The NHRC said the human rights situation in Terai had deteriorated after MJF took up arms. Similar movements soon followed suit, in the eastern and central parts of the region. Fewer killings were attributed to the CPN-Maoist than in previous periods, but the party’s youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL), continued to carry out abductions, beatings, property seizures, extortion and “donation” campaigns. Other armed groups such as JTMM (Goit and Jwala Singh) Factions, Madhesi Mukti Tigers Group, Terai Cobra, Madhesi Tigers, and Terai Bagi were involved in similar incidents, contributing to an atmosphere of fear and terror, the report said. The number of cases of looting, or robbery has increased, but the police forces have been unable to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The NHRC received total 726 complaints on human rights violations during this period. 141 related to abductions or disappearances, while 140 involved allegations of torture and ill-treatment. 102 complaints involved losses of life. The NHRC followed up on 104 cases and organized 445 on-the-spot investigations in 37 districts during the period.

The report expresses deep concern over the government's reluctance to take action against the perpetrators, including those who have been specifically identified, and urges members of political parties to abide by the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

1 Status of Human Rights under the Comprehensive Peace Accord