Kathmandu, April 19:

Participants at an international seminar, which was held in Geneva yesterday, expressed serious concern over human rights situation in Nepal. The participants also stressed the need to hold a meaningful dialogue between the seven-party alliance, the government and the Maoists.

Representatives of the Nepali society called on the international community to consider immediate measures if the democratic movement continues to face repression and violence. “These measures could include targeted sanctions, such as visa restrictions or the freezing of assets, in a coordinated manner, restriction on human rights violators in the Royal Nepalese Army and Nepal police from participation in UN peacekeeping operations,” the conclusions said.

While some participants also suggested that the government be urged to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court at the earliest, others suggested that the situation in Nepal be put on the agenda of the UN Security Council. Interestingly, the government, which was also invited by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, turned down the invitation. “This has been regretted by the Swiss government,” Marcel von Arx, adviser at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) told a press conference in Lalitpur today. He also made it clear that the conclusion of the seminar was not the official Swiss position.

A majority of the participants insisted that a national dialogue should take into account the possibility of the restoration of the House of Representatives (HoR), formation of a constituent assembly as well as the conduct of national elections.

Participated in by some 20 countries and missions, the seminar also emphasised the need to restore democracy. Most of the participants felt that the armed conflict can be resolved only by recognising the sovereignty of the people.

The seminar also emphasised that negotiations on the implementation of human rights commitments could bring the parties to conflict together.