Nepal, Maoists must probe civil war abuses, says U.N.

KATHMANDU Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:41pm IST

Head of the Office of UNHCHR in Nepal Richard Bennett speaks during a press conference in Helsinki July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Lehtikuva/ Pekka Sakki/Files

Head of the Office of UNHCHR in Nepal Richard Bennett speaks during a press conference in Helsinki July 15, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Lehtikuva/ Pekka Sakki/Files

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KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A U.N. human rights envoy urged Nepal's government and the Maoist former rebels on Wednesday to probe human rights abuses in the civil war that ended in 2006, saying not a single abuser had been punished.

Both government forces and the former rebels were blamed for abuses including arbitrary arrests, torture, disappearances and killings during their decade-long conflict that killed thousands of people.

Richard Bennett, chief of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, said both sides must cooperate with "credible, competent, impartial and fully independent investigations".

"The victims of these violations and their families deserve no less," he said. "They have the right to know the truth and to a remedy, and they should be at the heart of everyone's concerns."

The Maoists announced a ceasefire in early 2006, signed a peace deal later that year and emerged as the biggest political group in last year's election for a special assembly that doubles as the parliament.

Both the government and the Maoists, as part of the landmark peace deal, agreed to investigate abuses but little progress has been made.

"Today I am forced to repeat that no one has been brought to justice for a conflict-related offence," he said. "The situation is no better when it comes to politically related crimes committed since the peace agreement; impunity prevails."

There was no immediate comment from the government or the Maoists.

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