Bloomfield tells govt, Maoists to uphold rights

Kathmandu, November 19:

Expressing concern over the ongoing human rights violations, British ambassador to Nepal, Keith Bloomfield, said that both the warring factions have yet to put their avowed commitment

to uphold human rights in practice. The suffering of the victims, according to him, continues

“unabated.” “Judging by the public statements made by the government and Maoists this year, our efforts have met with success. Unfortunately, UN experts on child rights, torture and displaced persons all have this year failed to find evidence that these commitments at the highest level have found resonance on the ground,” said Bloomfield.

He made this comment while inaugurating the “Exhibition on Child Rights” organised by Amnesty International Nepal Section and the British Embassy here today on the occasion of the International Children’s Day. Bllomfield said civilians want to “get on with their lives, free from hassles, intimidation and rights abuses by either the Maoists or the security forces.” He, however, added it was difficult for diplomats like him to directly experience “the ground reality.” According to Bloomfield that is where organisations like AI are valuable, since they can interview and investigate allegations of abuse “which, if a diplomat were to do the same, he or she would be laid open to charges of breaching the Vienna Convention and allegations of interfering in internal affairs of the concerned country.”

Kavita Menon, South Asia campaigner of AI, called on both the government and Maoists to respect human rights and urged the former not to detain children under TADO. Calling on the rebels to release children from their captivity, she urged both parties to respect schools as a zone of peace and to refrain from using them as theatres of violence. Menon was concerned over the killing, displacement, torture of children including child recruitment in the militia against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict. Students, teachers and AI volunteers of 20 countries sent 2000 pieces of artworks, letters and online messages in support of Nepal’s children caught in the ongoing situation of violence and uncertainty. Some of the artworks are on display at the exhibition which will run through November 21 at the British Council.