AI delegation, RNA chief discuss rights situation

Army seeks support of INGOs to set up rehab centres

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 15:

An Amnesty International (AI) team led by secretary general Irene Khan today met foreign minster, top security officers, diplomats and discussed about the human rights situation in the country. In a meeting with the Chief of the Army Staff General Pyar Jung Thapa, they discussed the security forces’ activities in curbing Maoist activities and protecting human rights.

Khan is learnt to have assured the army chief of providing assistance to establish ehabilitation centres for ex-Maoist cadres and child soldiers. She reportedly asked what the RNA does with the child soldiers who are captured or surrender to the forces. The RNA officials told her

that there was lack of proper rehabilitation and detention centres and that it was expecting support from international non-governmental organisations for operation of such. The RNA officials also briefed the visiting team about the Maoists’ current modus operandi and the ‘atrocities’ committed by the insurgents and the Army’s operations against the rebels.

“She (Khan) wanted to know if the Maoists were using improvised explosive devices and land mines and we briefed her accordingly,” said the Army spokesperson, Brigadier General Dipak Kumar Gurung. She was briefed that the Maoists now “have not been able to amass and attack on security installation but they are ambushing soft targets.” The army also briefed the delegation about the 43 out of 61 cases of human rights violation in the hands of the security forces raised by the AI.

It was also briefed about the ongoing investigations on such cases of human rights abuses.

AI representative Pradeep Pokhrel concluded that the meeting with army officials remained ‘positive’. The army spokesperson added that the officials had “good interaction” with the AI team. Meanwhile, the AI-Nepal deputy director Rameshwor Nepal said that the visiting team has acquired permit from the Home Ministry to visit human rights and founding chairman of the Human Rights and Peace Society Krishna Pahadi and general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists Bishnu Nisthuri.

The team yesterday met the National Human Rights Commission members wherein Khan extended support to the commission’s efforts in promoting and protecting human rights in the country, said NHRC member Sushil Pyakurel.