US aims at averting Maoist takeover: Report

• Forces, Maoists rapped for rights violations

Kathmandu, April 6:

The US state department in its global report has highlighted Nepal’s worsening human rights situation and said the country’s democracy has suffered a serious setback after the King’s February 1 takeover. It claimed that its goals in Nepal were to prevent a Maoist takeover and restore multi-party democracy.

“Nepal’s struggling multi-party democracy suffered a severe setback with the King’s February 1, 2005 dismissal of the government, declaration of a state of emergency and suspension of basic human rights,” said the US in its report released yesterday. The report titled “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The US Record 2005 — 2006” was submitted to the Congress by the Department of State.

The US, according to the report, “pursued two main goals in Nepal: preventing a Maoist takeover and restoring multi-party democracy.” The US said that it “encouraged” the King to “reach out” to the political parties. The US “engaged the government, its security forces, the international community, and civil society to facilitate a common vision for a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Nepal.”

Against the backdrop of conflict hampering efforts to protect human rights and develop democratic institutions, “the US worked to address Nepal’s inequalities by encouraging these actors to translate principles of democracy and human rights into practice,” the report said.

Highlighting a list of its activities in the country, the report further said the US urged the government to be “inclusive” and bring the political parties into the February 2006 municipal elections.

“The United States provided assistance for electoral processes and political party evelopment and reform,” the report said.

The report said that the US officials “encouraged balanced public statements” on human rights, including criticism of Maoist violence by the international community including international organisations and NGOs.

It claimed that the nine statements by these groups during the year “focussed on Maoist human rights abuses, forcing the Maoists to declare their policies on human rights matters publicly and exposing the widening gap between their statements and their actions.”

The report also came down heavily on the warring factions for engaging in grave human rights violations.

It criticised the security forces for engaging in serious human rights abuses, including arbitrary detentions, disappearances of detainees, torture, and arbitrary and unwarranted lethal force.

It blamed the Maoists for “their systematically employed violence and terror” and serious human rights abuses, including torture, killings, bombings, extortion, and “conscription” of child soldiers.