08/31/2010, 00.00
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UN calls on Nepali government to shed light on hundreds who went missing during civil war

by Kalpit Parajuli
The request coincides with World Disappearance Day, held yesterday. More than a thousand people are still missing despite the end of the civil war in 2006 and the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Military and Maoist guerrillas are blamed for the disappearances. Families and human rights groups slam the authorities for their ineffectiveness, pay tribute to the victims with a candlelight ceremony in downtown Kathmandu.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – The United Nations Human Right Commission (UNHRC) marked World Disappearance Day by calling on the Nepali government to bring to justice those members of the armed forced and Maoist guerrillas responsible for the disappearance of about a thousand people during the civil war. According to the UN agency, the whereabouts of 835 who disappeared between 1996 and 2006 remains unknown. Yesterday, family members of the victims and national and international human rights groups paid tribute to the missing in conferences and debates. The event ended in a candlelight rally in Basantapur, an area in the heart of the capital.

For ten years, civil war raged in Nepal between the military and Maoist fighters. The latter sought to overthrow the monarchy and establish a people’s republic. The conflict ended on 21 November 2006, when the government and the Maoists signed a comprehensive agreement before the UN and international community.

The war left 12,800 people dead and 100,000 displaced. During these ten years in which the armed forces controlled the cities and armed Maoist rebels rules in the countryside, both sides committed crimes against the civilian population, removing anyone whom they saw as a danger or who denounced their action.

Despite the creation in 2007 of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, sponsored by the Maoist government elected in 2008, and the top officials of the state, no one has been tried so far. The authorities have blamed the delay on the country’s recent political instability.

However, for Ramji Nepal, country director of Amnesty International, “The delay in the formation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission is because of the political recklessness and lack of will power. The injustice may lead to mistrust in the country and social harmony may be violated."

A 32-year-old woman, Shanti B.K. from Bardiya District, has not had news about her husband for almost seven years. “My husband was taken by the Nepali Army at midnight when we were sleeping. I don't know what happened to him. My two children often ask, 'When will father come home?" she said.

“I mortgaged our small piece of land and turned to various human rights organisations but no one has been able to tell me what happened to my husband,” she added.

She slams the authorities, which have shown indifference to her plight and done nothing to help the families of the missing, forcing them to scrape by a living.

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