New Maoist government ignoring civil war missing
by Kalpit Parajuli
No speeches or ceremonies were held yesterday to mark World Disappearance Day. During the country’s civil war, Maoist guerrillas were responsible for the disappearance of more than 200 people. This could jeopardise Maoist party’s rehabilitation by the United States.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepal’s new Maoist government has failed to remember the people who went missing during the country’s civil war. In fact, nothing was done to mark World Disappearance Day. A United Nations human rights official has criticised Prime Minister Bhattarai for this attitude, noting that impunity is becoming the norm in more and more cases. A United States proposal to remove Nepal’s Maoists from a list of terrorist movements is thus in jeopardy.

In a report by the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), 831 people disappeared during 11 years of civil war between royalist forces and anti-government Maoist guerrillas, 210 allegedly taken by the latter. In addition, the report includes only the cases that were recorded and for which there is evidence. “But hundreds of other cases are still unknown,” INSEC president Subodh Raj Pyakurel said.

Despite the creation in 2007 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, based on cooperation with the United Nations, Maoists and Communists have refused to hand over their own members involved in alleged crimes committed during the civil war.

Since the fall of the monarchy, only the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist and the Nepal Communist Party have held power in the country.

Raju Thapa, secretary general of the Centre for Peace and Conflict (CEPCOM), has accused the leftwing governments that have ruled Nepal since the end of the civil war of creating a climate of impunity in order to protect their leaders and ideology. For instance, under the Communist-led government, 309 missing person cases have been dismissed, whilst another 282 were thrown out under the Maoist administration.

During Nepal’s 11-year civil war, the royalist army and Maoist guerrillas fought for power. The conflict ended when the Nepali armed forces and Maoists signed an agreement on 21 November 2006 under United Nations auspices with the approval of the international community.

About 12,800 people were killed during the war and another 100,000 were displaced. In the overall climate of insecurity, both the Nepali armed forces, which controlled the cities, and Maoist guerrillas, which ruled much of the countryside, committed crimes against the civilian population. Many dissidents went missing, as did those who complained about their disappearance.