Nepal | July 13, 2020

ICRC training to RNA men going on

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, September 7:

Though the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Nepal has stopped visiting Royal Nepali Army (RNA) detention centres for about six months because of “some problems”, it has been imparting training to army officers on the International Humanitarian Law.

Recently, two RNA officers were selected for doing a course on international military course on the International Humanitarian Law at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy, under the ICRC sponsorship, an ICRC official said.

Other international organisations are sponsoring 15 RNA officers to do the same course. The ICRC official said the annual programme began a few years back. “The two-week course will begin from October-end,” RNA sources told this daily. The ICRC has been imparting training to RNA men inside the country as well. While a local consultant has been training the lower rank of the RNA on the law of the armed conflict, a New Delhi-based expatriate instructor, who looks after South Asia, has been frequently visiting Kathmandu to impart training to senior RNA men.

The ICRC official said the instructor spends at least two weeks for conducting training each time he visits Kathmandu. “The ICRC has not resumed visits to detainees kept in RNA custody because the working group, which comprises RNA officers and ICRC delegates, is yet to sort out the problems,” said the ICRC official. The ICRC suspended the visits, saying the delegates couldn’t work under the ICRC modalities. The modalities, which apply all over the world, include granting the ICRC full access to detainees at any time and in any place, receiving information about the detainees, taking personal interviews with detainees, and establishing contacts with their family members. The ICRC can also make repeated visits.

Dialogues between the RNA and the ICRC have been continuing ever since the ICRC informed the RNA in April that it had been facing some problems. However, the ICRC didn’t specify what were the problems barring its delegates from visiting the RNA barracks.

“The problems are not related to a specific place,” the ICRC official said. The problems are not made public; they are sorted out by holding discussions with the concerned authority.”

However, ICRC delegates continue to visit detainees placed in detention centres of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Maoists. Asked if ICRC delegates have met the soldiers, who were captured from Pili of Kalikot, the ICRC official said he had “no news” on that.

It may be mentioned that the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recently visited an RNA barrack without notifying the authority.

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