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Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis International Crisis Group 2005-03-24

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Asia Report N°94 - 24 March 2005
Crisis Group
A. A Catalogue of Abuses in a Climate of Impunity 3
B. An Unrestrained and Politicised Mlitary 4
C. Limited National Human Rights Protection Capacity 5
1. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) 5
2. The Judiciary 5
3. National Human Rights NGOs 6
A. Arrests, Disappearances, Mlitary Actions 8
B. Censorship and Suspension of Other Rights 9
C. Vigilante Action: A Revival of the Village Mlitias Plan? 10
D. Prospects for Democracy and Development 11
A. The Doramba Case 12
B. Leverage on the Maoists 12
C. Commitment Paper as Fig-leaf 12
D. Toothless Chair Statement at the 2004 Commission on Human Rights 13
A. Action by the Nepali Government 13
B. Action by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) 14
C. Action at the Commission on Human Rights 15
D. Other International Action 15
A. International Actors and Mechanisms 16
B. Effective Action 18
1. Beyond technical assistance 18
2. Towards a successful monitoring operation 19
3. Preconditions for a successful monitoring mission 19
A. Map of Nepal 22
B. About the International Crisis Group 23
C. Crisis Group Reports and Briefings on Asia 24
D. Crisis Group Board Members 26
 Crisis Group
Asia Report N°94
24 March 2005
In the wake ofthe royal coup of 1 February 2005, Nepal's
human rights crisis is spiralling out of control. A year
after the international community first formally expressed
concern at the 2004 Commission on Human Rights, the
Maoists continue to operate outside the law while state
security forces act with impunity and without civilian
control. The 61st Commission on Human Rights now
underway gives Nepal's friends their best opportunity to
begin to reverse the trends by establishing a strong UN
human rights monitoring mission that could form the
core of action towards peace.
Using extortion and coercion, the Maoists are imposing
an authoritarian regime on steadily increasing swathes of
rural Nepal. State forces are engaged in well documented,
systematic violations from extra-judicial executions to
illegal detentions, "disappearances" and torture.
By its willingness in recent years to give the royal
government the benefit of the doubt and sidestep
serious criticism and remedial action, the international
community finds itself confronted today with what it
fears the most: a no-party state that has decimated
democracy, kills people at will in the countryside,
forbids freedom of expression or dissent and demands
unquestioning support for its unelected leader. It now
recognises the gravity of the situation. A joint
statement by bilateral donors and the UN in Nepal has
warned that "insecurity, armed activity and CPN/M
[Maoist] blockades are pushing Nepal toward the
abyss of a humanitarian crisis".
The repeated gentle urgings of the past have done
nothing to prevent the dismantling of democracy.
Apart from the assault on fundamental rights, the
royal coup and the royal government's subsequent
actions have emboldened the Maoists and made any
resolution of the conflict all the more distant. As
Crisis Group has warned before, the Maoists are the
only party in Nepal's complex conflict with a clear
strategy. The king's seizure of absolute power has not
brought with it any new strategy that can hope to
address the challenge ofthe insurgency.
Human rights issues have assumed an increased
significance, as one of the few available avenues
through which the international community might be
able to influence the resumption ofthe peace process.
In this context the 61st Commission on Human Rights,
meeting from 14 March to 22 April 2005, has a
particularly important role.
The priorities are to:
□ secure a strong resolution calling for restoration
of basic freedoms and guaranteed protection;
□ ensure that the resolution has robust enforcement
mechanisms, and compliance is measurable against
clearly defined benchmarks;
□ put in place an effective UN human rights
monitoring mission to complement and strengthen
national efforts;
□ call for both the government and the Maoists to
sign a Human Rights Accord (HRA) as a first
confidence-building measure towards a resumed
peace process;
□ ensure that any military assistance to the
government, as well as new Royal Nepalese
Army (RNA) participation in UN peacekeeping
operations, is tied to concrete improvements in
human rights;
□ use effective human rights monitoring as a
means of engaging and exerting leverage on the
Maoists; and
□ link human rights efforts to a wider, coordinated
international push for peace, with a contact group
of key powers and the UN supported by donors
working on the development and rights tracks.
This report describes the current human rights crisis,
offers practical policy recommendations for tackling
it by all relevant players, and explains how such
measures would contribute to the longer-term conflict
resolution effort.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page ii
To the Nepali Government:
1. End the suspension of constitutional rights
imposed since 1 February 2005 and:
(a) release politicians, human rights defenders,
journalists and others from preventive
(b) lift the state of emergency; and
(c) remove media censorship to allow the
reporting of human rights violations and
honest war coverage.
2. End the practice of enforced disappearances by
security forces, investigate all disappearance
cases and prosecute perpetrators.
3. Renounce the use of vigilante groups, village
militias and other extrajudicial means to contest
the Maoists.
4. Cooperate with the international community to
tackle the human rights crisis by:
(a) accepting a strong UN-led international
human rights monitoring mission;
(b) accepting appointment of a Special
Rapporteur and issuing a standing invitation
to the thematic mechanisms of the UN
Commission on Human Rights to visit
(c) allowing the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC) to fulfil its mandate;
(d) encouraging the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC) to accept standing
offers of technical assistance from the
international community.
5. Take immediate steps to demonstrate concrete
commitment to ending the culture of impunity
towards human rights abusers by:
(a) guaranteeing the independence of the
judiciary and ensuring security forces'
full cooperation with the courts;
(b) prosecuting those responsible for the
Doramba killings as demanded by the
Office ofthe UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) in September
(c) investigating and prosecuting in the
civilian courts other cases of alleged rights
abuses, including gender-based violence;
(d) issuing clear instructions to all security
forces that any use of torture or other
human rights violations will be punished;
(e) recognising that its National Human Rights
Action Plan is an insufficient and
inappropriate response to the current
situation and urgently developing effective
measures to address the human rights
protection crisis.
6. Strengthen the legal framework for human rights
and international humanitarian law by:
(a) signing the National Human Rights
Commission's Human Rights Accord
(b) repealing or amending the Public Security
Act and Terrorism and Destructive
Activities Ordinance;
(c) ensuring full compliance with existing
commitments under domestic and
international law;
(d) signing the Additional Protocols to the
Geneva Conventions; and
(e) signing the Rome Statute on the International
Criminal Court.
7. Strengthen the capacity of the National Human
Rights Commission by:
(a) extending the term of the current
(b) ensuring that the Commissioners and other
NHRC officers are free to travel and fulfil
their mandate;
(c) respecting the physical integrity of its
offices in Kathmandu, Biratnagar and
Nepalgunj so it can protect sensitive
information on victims and their relatives;
(d) ensuring that other agencies such as the
Human Rights Promotion Centre and the
security forces' human rights cells are
not used to undermine its work.
To the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist):
8. Cease human rights violations and adhere in full
to international humanitarian law, in particular
(a) respecting the rights of the civilian
population and hors de combat security
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page iii
(b) releasing political detainees immediately;
(c) halting the intimidation, torture and killing
of political workers, journalists, activists
and others; and
(d) giving and enforcing clear instructions to
all cadres on human rights and international
humanitarian law.
9. Build confidence and work towards the rapid
resumption ofthe peace process by:
(a) signing the Human Rights Accord;
(b) cooperating with national and international
human rights monitors; and
(c) developing transparent methods for dealing
with rights abuses, including gender-based
To the Member States of the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights (CHR):
10. Use the 61st CHR to address Nepal's human
rights crisis by:
(a) establishing an effective international
human rights monitoring presence in the
country through deployment of a clearly
mandated mission ofthe Office ofthe High
Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
staffed by international monitors and
national support staff sufficient to work
across Nepal's difficult terrain and led by a
head of mission of sufficient UN rank and
ability to collate, evaluate and act on the
information gathered by monitors;
(b) appointing a Special Rapporteur; and
(c) encouraging the royal government to
issue a standing invitation to the thematic
mechanisms of the Commission to visit
(c) demonstrating that it is prepared, through
the UN Security Council, to authorise the
International Criminal Court to exercise
jurisdiction over exceptionally serious
violations of international humanitarian
law by either the state or the Maoists
unless such violations cease and/or are
submitted to fair and impartial domestic
investigation and prosecution.
12. Support   Nepal's   National   Human   Rights
Commission by:
(a) demanding that the royal government
respect its statute in both letter and spirit
so it can fulfil its mandate;
(b) insisting on the extension of the current
Commissioners' terms; and
(c) planning, funding and implementing (most
probably through the UN) all appropriate
assistance it requests.
13. Help build non-governmental human rights
capacity by:
(a) defending and strengthening national
human rights NGOs, including women's
organisations, and relevant professional
associations, such as the Nepal Bar
Association and the Federation of Nepali
Journalists; and
(b) developing practical programs for
protecting human rights defenders.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 24 March 2005
To the Wider International Community, including
CHR Member States, Diplomatic Missions to
Nepal, and Bilateral and Multilateral Donors:
11.     Use available leverage to end the culture of
impunity by:
(a) preparing to suspend the Royal Nepalese
Army from UN peacekeeping operations
if it does not improve its record;
(b) making human rights protection a condition
of military and other assistance; and
Crisis Group
Asia Report N°94
24 March 2005
Nepal is suffering a worsening human rights crisis as
the nine-year-old Maoist (Communist Party of Nepal/
Maoist, CPN/M) insurgency intensifies. The royal coup
of 1 February 2005, which imposed a state of emergency,
has exacerbated an already dire situation.1 The weeks
since 1 February have seen the arrest of hundreds of
politicians, human rights defenders, journalists and
others; an increase in clashes between rebels and state
security forces; blockades by the Maoists2 and the
continuation of their practices of abductions and
extortion; severe press censorship and restrictions on
monitoring efforts by the National Human Rights
Commission (NHRC); and worrying signs of state-
sponsored vigilante action resulting in lynchings, the
burning of villages and brutal Maoist retribution. An 18
March 2005 statement by bilateral donors and the UN
in Nepal has warned that "insecurity, armed activity and
CPN/M blockades are pushing Nepal toward the abyss
of a humanitarian crisis" .3
violations has undermined both sides' efforts to win
popular support, and systemic abuses have sabotaged the
Royal Nepalese Army's attempts at a "hearts and minds"
campaign. Global concern at the deteriorating situation
is virtually unanimous. Governments, multilateral
bodies and international non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) have amplified the grave worries articulated by
Nepali civil society groups and activists.5 Past failures to
address the human rights crisis have not only allowed a
culture of impunity for state security forces but also
deprived the international community of potentially the
most effective means of exerting serious pressure on the
The royal coup has, however, brought opportunities for
fresh efforts to develop an effective, coordinated
international response to the conflict. Well planned
international pressure and assistance could both
address the immediate political challenges and build
toward a sustainable peace process. Steps to deal with
the human rights crisis would also be confidence-
building measures  ~ the  essential  precursor to  a
As Crisis Group reporting has warned, the king's actions
have made any resolution ofthe conflict much less likely.
This analysis is shared by most of Nepal's powerful
international friends.4 The increasing cycle of rights
1 See Crisis Group Asia Report N°91, Nepal: Making a Bad
Situation Worse, 9 February 2005, and Asia Briefing N°36,
Nepal: Responding to the Royal Coup, 24 February 2005.
2 The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is for brevity
referred to in this report as "the Maoists".
3 Statement by bilateral donors and the United Nations in
Nepal, 18 March 2005. The statement was signed by the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),
Denmark, the Department for International Development
(DfTD, UK), the European Commission, GTZ (Germany),
SNV (Netherlands), SDC (Switzerland), the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAfD), Finland, Norway,
and the UN. See also "Nepal 'near humanitarian abyss'",
BBC News,
4 "We think that the king needs to move quickly to reinstate
and protect civil and human rights, to release those who are
detained under the state of emergency, and to begin a dialogue
with the political parties intended to restore multi-party
democratic institutions under a constitutional monarchy", U.S.
State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher, State
Department daily briefing 25 February, Washington D.C. "The
developments in Nepal constitute a serious setback to
democracy and bring the monarchy and mainstream political
parties in direct confrontation with each other. This can only
benefit the forces that not only wish to undermine democracy in
Nepal but the institution of democracy as well", Indian Minister
of External Affairs K Natwar Singh in a statement to the upper
house of parliament New Delhi, 4 March 2005. "We continue
to urge the king to restore representative government and
democratic freedoms. These are essential steps towards a
sustainable peace process", UK Secretary of State Jack Straw,
quoted by Bloomberg News, 23 February 2005.
5 "Continued assistance will depend on demonstrated
commitment and capacity to implement reforms", Wold Bank
press statement Washington D.C, 8 March 2005. The Bank
suspended a $70 million loan for a poverty reduction scheme.
"...Nepal is descending into an abyss of violence from which
there will be no easy return. The rule of law, democracy and
human rights: all of these are now stuff of mythology in
Nepal", statement by Asian Human Rights Commission, 9
March 2005,
2005statements/273. Figures denoted in dollars ($) in this
report refer to U.S. dollars.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 2
negotiated settlement. The 61st Commission on
Human Rights (CHR), meeting from 14 March to 22
April 2005, should capitalise on these opportunities.
This policy report outlines the broader political context
of human rights in the conflict and details both the steps
that should be taken, focusing particularly but not solely
on the current CHR meeting, and their place in the
peace process. It aims to complement the large body of
published reporting by specialist human rights agencies
and NGOs. The robust international response to the
royal coup has demonstrated that there is a widely
shared consensus on the need to help Nepal resolve its
conflict. United political will can be effective. The
challenge now is to build on the short-term consensus
with forward-looking measures directed towards a
negotiated long-term settlement.
The human rights situation has deteriorated dramatically
since the end ofthe last ceasefire in August 2003. It is
characterised by:
□ serious rights violations committed by both sides,
Maoist and state, including for both 2003 and
2004 the highest number of newly reported
disappearances in any country;6
□ an atmosphere of impunity on both sides, with
few restraints on combatants and extremely
limited willingness to enforce military discipline
in order to achieve observance of international
humanitarian law;
□ an increasingly politicised military, which has
exerted a stranglehold on peace talks without
delivering security from Maoist attacks;
□ weak domestic capacity for monitoring and
addressing rights violations; and,
□ an ineffective international response.
The human rights crisis is, like other effects of the
conflict, hitting the civilian population hardest.
Disregard for human rights has also damaged the
credibility and support base of both sides.
The Maoists have targeted teachers, journalists and
political workers and have used an array of violent and
coercive tactics to intimidate and exploit the civilian
population. Their atrocities — many publicised by the
journalists, activists and politicians detained following the
royal coup — have dented what public support the
insurgents had. The Maoists may calculate that brutality
serves them well at this stage of guerrilla warfare but it
undermines their chances of ever earning mainstream
acceptability and widespread support. Louise Arbour, UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR),
pointed this out during her January 2005 visit to Nepal: "I
would warn the leaders of the insurgency not to misread
developments in the wider world nor to believe that they
can operate outside ofthe law".7
"Nepali security forces have established themselves as one
of the world's worst perpetrators of enforced disappearances
... According to [the] United Nations Working Group on
Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, in 2003 and 2004
Nepal recorded the highest number of new cases of
'disappearances' in the world", statement by Human Rights
Watch, New York, 1 March 2005.
7 Press statement on the occasion of the visit to Kathmandu
(23-26 January 2005) by Ms. Louise Arbour, High
Commissioner for Human Rights.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 3
The state, especially if it is to deliver on the repeated
promise of a "hearts and minds" campaign, does not
have the luxury, legally or strategically, of disregarding
its domestic and international responsibilities. Respect
for human rights, as many military advisors have sought
to remind the RNA, must lie at the core of any effort to
restore faith in the state and government. State abuses,
ever since the brutality ofthe police operations in Rolpa
which preceded the insurgency, have fuelled popular
resentment and played into the hands of the Maoists.
There is increasing evidence that many of the several
thousand people so far killed by the state, most in the
period since the army's deployment in November 2001,
were not Maoists or were executed in cold blood.
Widespread detentions and intimidation of democratic
politicians and human rights defenders have followed
the proclamation on 1 February 2005 with which the
King formalised his de facto assumption of absolute
power. Censorship, restrictions on communication and
movement and other measures mean that the full impact
of the military takeover is unknown, even in the
Kathmandu valley. Information from the 75 districts,
many of which are practically cut off from the capital,
may not be available for months. The full impact ofthe
period immediately following 1 February will only
become clear when measures have been taken to
establish accurate monitoring ofthe situation.
The donor community has repeatedly criticised the
government's human rights record, calling for it and the
Maoists to sign an HRA as recently as 9 September
2004. That statement, from the major European donors,
the European Commission delegation, the U.S. embassy
and the Canadian mission to Nepal, asserted that "both
sides to the conflict continue to be responsible for
gruesome and continuing human rights violations". The
European Union (EU) Troika which visited Nepal in
December 2004 recalled, "the international community's
appeals to both sides ofthe conflict to urgently sign the
human rights accord as a first step towards curtailing the
indiscriminate and arbitrary violation of rights".8
Unfortunately, there has been little practical pressure for
implementation of these appeals. Recent high-level
visits, culminating in the UNHCHR's, have emphasised
the gravity ofthe situation. Louise Arbour spoke ofthe
"grave human rights crisis" afflicting Nepal and the
"rampant abuse of basic human rights" brought about by
the armed conflict.9
' EU Troika press release, Kathmandu, 15 December 2004.
Press statement, op. cit.
A.    A Catalogue of Abuses in a Climate
of Impunity
The main violations of human rights are widespread
"disappearances", torture, extrajudicial killings, rapes,
illegal and arbitrary detention and severe restrictions on
freedom of assembly, speech, association and movement.
Many have been thoroughly documented in reports by
the major international human rights organisations.10 The
judicial system is dysfunctional. The RNA, which has
never been under effective civilian control or
oversight, frequently ignores the Supreme Court habeas
corpus orders, and there are many documented cases of
re-arrest of those released by judicial order.
The U.S. State Department's report on human rights
practices emphasised that impunity on both sides
remained a problem throughout 2004.11 According to
Human Rights Watch, "Both parties have engaged in
systematic human rights abuses and violations of
international humanitarian law with impunity".12 Placing
Nepal at the top of the list of priorities for the CHR
Amnesty International's recent reports and statements on
Nepal include: "Human rights defenders at risk", 18 November
2004, ACT 30/020/2004; "Nepal: Human rights defenders
under threat - enhanced international protection urgently
needed", 19 December 2004, ASA 31/190/2004; "Open letter
condemning attacks on civilians, particularly those who
criticise Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) (Maoist)", 10
January 2005, ASA 31/003/2005; "Nepal: Killing with
impunity", 20 January 2005, ASA 31/001/2005; "Nepal: State
of emergency deepens human rights crisis", 1 February 2005,
ASA 31/008/2005; "Nepal: A long ignored human rights crisis
now on the brink of catastrophe", 18 February 2005, ASA
31/022/2005. All are available at Human
Rights Watch reporting includes: "Nepal: Human Rights
Concerns for the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on
Human Rights", 10 March 2005; "Clear Culpability:
Disappearances' by Security Forces in Nepal", 1 March 2005;
"Nepal: Civil War Atrocities Follow Royal Takeover", 24
February 2005; "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Civilians
Straggle to Survive in Nepal's Civil War", 7 October 2004. All
are available at International Commission of
Jurists reports, including "Nepal: The Rule of Law
Abandoned", 17 March 2005, are available at
Asian Human Rights Commission reports are available at For a recent detailed account of human
rights abuses, including gender-based violence, especially since
I February 2005, see, "Situation Update: Human Rights in
Nepal", Nepal Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, 22
March 2005.
II U.S. State Department, "Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices 2004: Nepal", 28 February 2005, available at
12 "Nepal: Human Rights Concerns for the 61st Session of the
UN. Commission on Human Rights", Human Rights Watch
op. cit.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 4
Amnesty International's representative at the UN in
Geneva, Peter Splinter, reiterated that "Nepal is on
the verge of a human rights catastrophe ~ basic human
rights have been suspended; impunity is rampant. The
international community must take immediate and
decisive action to pull Nepal back from the verge".13
Louise Arbour made the point most effectively:
Regrettably, there is an alarming, and growing,
number of cases in which the fundamental
rights ofthe people of Nepal have been abused
by agents of the state and in which victims
have been unable to obtain redress. A climate
of impunity prevails in this country as a result
of which the rule of law, the fundamental glue
of any society, is being worryingly eroded.14
This intervention in particular stung the military and
led to an indignant rebuttal:
[The] Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) has strongly
objected to the term "impunity" used by various
human rights organisations including UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Louis Arbour
while associating the RNA with the deteriorating
human rights situation in the country. RNA
Spokesman Brigadier General Deepak Gurung
during a regular press briefing in Kathmandu
Friday [28 January] claimed that [the] RNA as a
constitutional body is "very much conscious of
human rights and has never gone beyond the
limits of legal boundaries" to carry out its
function in defence ofthe Monarchy, country and
the people. "The word impunity is a loosely used
word by various sources at various times to
tarnish the image ofthe RNA", added Gurung.15
The best documented and most significant illustration
of RNA impunity is the case ofthe killing of 21 people
in the village of Doramba, Ramechhap district, on 17
August 2003, the very day that the third round of peace
talks got underway after a three-month hiatus. The
NHRC set up a high-level enquiry team, which
included a leading forensic doctor, two former Supreme
Courtjudges and a prominent publisher, to look into the
incident which the RNA had tried to portray as two
Maoist ambushes. The enquiry found that the 21, most
of whom were Maoists or sympathisers, had been
detained for several hours before they were marched a
13 "2005 UN Commission on Human Rights: An important
opportunity to address human rights violations whenever
and wherever they occur", Amnesty International press
release, 10 March 2005.
14 Press statement, op. cit.
15 "RNA strongly objects to use of 'impunity' against it",, 28 January 2005.
further two hours, then executed, most with shots to the
head from close range while their hands were bound.16
The RNA reluctantly reopened its investigation and on
31 January 2005, hours before the royal coup, announced
that the major in charge of the operation would be
removed from the army and imprisoned for two years for
"excessive use of force".17 While this is a historic
decision — the first clear case of an RNA officer
punished for a human rights violation — the inadequate
sentence, lack of transparency of the military trial and
timing make the process very unsatisfactory.
b.    an unrestrained and politicised
The army will now be under considerable pressure to
make good its oft repeated promise that it will defeat the
Maoists within six months. Given its clear inability over
three years to hurt the ever more powerful Maoist forces,
there is a great danger civilians will continue to bear the
brunt of government military operations. The RNA fully
controls both the national police and the paramilitary
Armed Police Force and in effect rules the 75 district
headquarters, which have become increasingly
militarised, with local military commanders holding
sway over the nominal civilian local power, Chief
District Officers.
The military's arbitrary detentions have been "legalised"
by the Terrorist and Destructive Activities Ordinance
(TADO), signed by the government of Prime Minister
Deuba in October 2004. Intensified conflict is now to be
expected, and the probable result is an increasingly
polarised society. Many civilians who are trying to stay
out of the conflict will be forced by the security forces
into the amis ofthe Maoists. This will make the search
for peace more difficult and the civilian population
increasingly vulnerable to violations oftheir rights.
In mid-2004, the RNA made public its wish to set up a
military bank.18 The army's senior officers already
control a sizeable welfare fund based on earnings from
UN peacekeeping duties. It runs petrol pumps as a
The   NHRC   report   on   Doramba   is   available   at
http :// 03.
17 The dismissal was confirmed on 13 February 2005. "Army
major sacked over Doramba case", The Rising Nepal, 14
February 2005, available at
18 Though the news was reported in the press in August 2004,
Minister for Information and Communication Mohammed
Mohsin later denied that the government had given permission
to the RNA to open a bank. "None of their business", Nepali
Times, 20 August 2004.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 5
commercial enterprise but its accounts and other
activities remain murky, and the army has resisted
public scrutiny.19 The army also has its own schools and
hospitals while hundreds, if not thousands, of rank and
file soldiers are used as domestic servants by both
serving and retired senior officers.20 The international
community has largely turned a blind eye to RNA
efforts to increase its economic independence. But
further moves toward entrenching the military as a state
within a state are deeply disturbing, as the experiences
of Pakistan and Indonesia indicate.21
C.    Limited National Human Rights
Protection Capacity
State mechanisms for human rights protection are at
best dysfunctional and at worst actually designed to fail.
Outside of government mechanisms, the human rights
movement has been severely weakened by measures
since the 1 February coup. Press restrictions and curbs
on expression have made it almost impossible to do
effective human rights monitoring.
The statutory body for protection of human rights, the
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), is a
relatively weak institution that has not received
government support since its creation in 2000. It and the
International Committee ofthe Red Cross (ICRC) have
been regularly refused unhindered access to detainees,
particularly those the RNA holds with dubious legality.
The population outside Kathmandu has increasingly
turned its back on the judicial system. Measures
suspending basic constitutional rights and empowering
the security forces in effect make it impossible for
Nepalis to carry out human rights defence activities
without unacceptable risk.
1.       The National Human Rights Commission
The NHRC is the main institutional defender of human
rights. Its recent successes in documenting violations,
notably the Doramba massacre, have made it the target
of official ire, and commissioners have been under
considerable  pressure.   Over the  previous   eighteen
In August 2003, ex-RNA soldiers held a press conference
in Kathmandu claiming massive misuse of the welfare fund
by senior officers. "Ex-servicemen accuse RNA of welfare
fund misuse", The Kathmandu Post, 22 August 2003.
20 Called pipas, these RNA personnel are usually recruited
from the untouchable castes and assigned as domestic servants
and other support staff of RNA officers. They have nominal
rights and are rarely promoted through the conventional ranks.
21 See, for example, Crisis Group Asia Report N°40,
Pakistan: Transition to Democracy, 3 October 2002.
months, the credibility and capacity of the NHRC had
been significantly improved through technical assistance,
training and advice on monitoring techniques. However,
the limitations imposed since 1 February have severely
weakened its capacity to carry out its mandate. It remains,
nonetheless, a key partner for donors and any UN
monitoring mission. The mandate of the current
commissioners expires on 25 May 2005. The international
community must ensure that the commissioner appointment
process follows the spirit and letter ofthe founding statute,
but without a parliament, there is no legal way for new
commissioners to be nominated. Ironically, the NHRC
has become a severe irritant to the RNA since the U.S.
Congress passed legislation late in 2004 which makes
Washington's military aid to Nepal contingent on the
army's cooperation with the NHRC22 The temptation for
the regime to end NHRC independence, therefore, is
2.       The Judiciary
While the NHRC is constrained by the government, the
judiciary has remained ineffective due partly to its own
shortcomings.23 Even before the royal coup, the RNA
routinely ignored writs.24 When they were accepted, as in
a few habeas corpus petitions, detainees released by the
courts were promptly re-arrested, sometimes within the
court compound.25 Given this, it is unsurprising that the
courts have been meek about pushing the legal
boundaries in the present emergency. A case in point is
the Supreme Court's refusal to register cases even
under constitutional provisions not suspended by the
The amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations
bill sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy restricts military aid to
Nepal unless the Secretary of State certifies that it is cooperating
with the NHRC to resolve all disappearance cases; granting the
NHRC unimpeded access to places of detention; and complying
promptly with habeas corpus orders issued by Nepal's Supreme
Court, including all outstanding orders.
23 For a comprehensive examination of the urgent legal and
judicial challenges facing Nepal see "Nepal: The Rule of Law
Abandoned", International Commission of Jurists, 17 March
24 "Senadvara Sarvocchalai dhantiyo", Kantipur, 22 March
25 "The police and army often refuse to accept court orders to
produce detainees, and re-arrest detainees immediately after
the courts order their release", "NHRC of Nepal amidst the
rains", Suhas Chakma, Himal South Asian, Kathmandu,
March-April 2004, available at
2004/march_apru/report_2.htm. Human Rights Watch "Clear
culpability: disappearances by security forces in Nepal", op.
26 The Supreme Court is currently considering writ that raises
the question whether it can take up cases under non-
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 6
Nepal's judiciary has always been constrained by royal
prerogative. Nevertheless, during the partyless Panchayat
system from 1960 to 1990, the judiciary won a certain
reputation for taking up cases of political detainees and
often ruling in their favour. Ironically, the democracy
years since 1990 did much to damage the independence
of the courts. The seminal case of the period, the
dissolution of parliament by a communist prime
minister in 1995, led to verdicts that institutionalised
horse-trading in parliament and general political
instability.27 It also led to the politicisation ofthe courts.
Certain judges were openly seen as tilting towards a
particular political party.
Since then, the slide has been relentless. The first
emergency rule, imposed in November 2001, allowed
the security forces to seize initiative from the judiciary.
An RNA official complained in early 2004, "We
arrested the Maoists but the courts released them due to
lack of proof or other reasons. So what were we to do?
We arrested them again from the court compounds".28
The courts have not faced up to the RNA challenge.
While Supreme Court justices have reprimanded the
RNA a few times, they have rarely followed up with
action. In the current climate, there is even less reason to
hope that the courts will dare order the RNA to behave.
Much of the reason for this is the judiciary's traditional
deference towards the monarchy. Nepal's 1990
constitution bars any cases against the royal family, a
point zealously enforced by the courts. Another
important reason is a selection method for justices and
judges which gives the palace final say. Since the king
has shown determination to push his own candidates in
other constitutional bodies,29 his shadow looms large
over the courts. Just how large is illustrated by another
recent case. Before the February coup, the coalition
government was in turmoil over the issue of calling
elections or reviving the dissolved House of
Representatives.30 The Nepal Bar Association met Chief
Justice Govinda Bahadur Shrestha in November 2004 to
press for a speedy hearing on reviving parliament. He
concurred with the need but nothing happened.31 Shrestha
retired soon after, and the royal coup made the issue
moot. A Bar member says, "the justices are just too afraid
of going against the palace's wishes. There were clear
indications from the palace not to hear the case".32 In its
present state, the judiciary simply lacks the will and
wherewithal to protect human rights.
3.       National Human Rights NGOs
National human rights NGOs in Nepal are active but
relatively weak and inexperienced. Their lack of security
awareness has made them particularly vulnerable to the
measures adopted since the King's seizure of power. The
fact that a number of key human rights defenders have
either left the country or gone underground underlines the
difficulty citizens have in documenting human rights
cases and the need for international monitoring and a
significantly expanded presence of the Office of the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in
Nepal. Human rights defenders in Kathmandu, including
journalists, lawyers and NGO workers, have clearly
expressed their fears to diplomats and visiting
delegations.33 Some leading human rights defenders have
been detained on their return to Nepal and others turned
back from the airport.34
Leaders of most mainstream parties remain under house
arrest while hundreds of other party cadres and student
activists were detained in an attempt to prevent protests at
the royal takeover, suggesting that the main target of the
new administration is less the Maoists than key politicians,
human rights defenders, the media and the Kathmandu
intelligentsia.   The   Deuba  government  presented  no
suspended constitutional provisions. The writ was filed after
the Court refused to entertain a petition under the non-
suspended article 88(2) of the constitution. It is expected to
deliver a verdict on 31 March 2005. "Amicus Curiae
concludes debate", The Kathmandu Post, 8 March 2005.
27 The Supreme Court verdict restored a dissolved parliament
and stated that the legislature cannot be dissolved until all
possibilities of forming an alternative government have been
exhausted. The decision encouraged deal-making between
parties and politicians seeking to lure rivals into supporting
attempts to form a new government.
28 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, February 2004.
29 King Gyanendra appointed Keshab Raj Rajbhandary as
Chief Election Commissioner on 3 December 2003, The selection was made after the
monarch asked for a shortlist of three names to choose from,
not the usual one name. Crisis Group interview, December
The House, the elected lower chamber of parliament, was
dissolved in May 2002 due to in-fighting within the ruling
Nepali Congress party. Since then, Nepal has had no
elections, even though the constitution mandates these within
six months of dissolution of parliament.
31 "CJ willing to hear plea on House revival", The Himalayan
Times, 25 November 2004.
32 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2005.
33 Federation of Nepalese Journalists president Taranath
Dahal has said he fears for his safety in the current climate.
Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2005.
34 The chairman of Child Workers in Nepal, Gauri Pradhan, a
leading child rights advocate, was arrested at Kathmandu
airport on 17 February 2005 upon his return from Europe.
Political scientist and former ambassador to India, Professor
Lok Raj Baral, was arrested upon returning from Delhi on 7
February. Prominent editor and publisher Kanak Mani Dixit
was arrested on 7 March two days after returning from India.
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 7
practical obstacle to the RNA's prosecution of the war
against the Maoists. But the palace and army were
angered by the growing international attention reflected
in a marked increase in media coverage of human rights
violations, a phenomenon they blamed on the media and
human rights defenders.35
As in its approach to the conflict as a whole, the
international community's policy on human rights in
Nepal has failed. Neighbours and donors have always
been soft on government human rights abuses
because they felt the government was at least a lesser
evil than the Maoists. This has left them poorly
positioned to say much now that the government's
approach is clearly out of control.
Indeed, the palace and military view their present
actions as a logical extension of the practices which
the international community largely ignored as the
political crisis intensified over the last several years,
starting with the first time the king dismissed Prime
Minister Deuba and assumed executive control, in
October 2002. Ifthe Maoists had killed 21 soldiers in
cold blood on the first day of the third round of the
2003 peace talks, international outcry would have
been justified and likely. The turning of a blind eye
to many state abuses and the gentle approach of
offering training and technical assistance rather than
demanding a change in policy from the top
encouraged further deterioration ofthe situation.
The period since the breakdown of the ceasefire in
August 2003, and in particular the twelve months
since the 2004 Commission on Human Rights, has
been one of missed opportunities.36 International
efforts have come too late and on a scale which has
proved inadequate to make an impression on the
impunity enjoyed by the RNA and the Maoists alike.
The Maoists were not tested when they proclaimed
themselves ready to accept international human rights
monitoring; nor were they tested on their willingness
Crisis Group interviews February 2005. The royal
government has also barred rights advocates from travelling
outside Kathmandu. NHRC Commissioner Sushil Pyakurel
was stopped from flying to Rupandehi on 5 March 2005 to
investigate reports of vigilantism in Kapilvastu. Another
NHRC commissioner, Kapil Shrestha, was barred from
attending the opening of the NHRC's Biratnagar office on 7
February 2005. Former Speaker of Parliament Daman Nath
Dhungana was turned back on 10 March 2005 from the airport
while trying to board a flight to attend an academic seminar on
Nepal in the United States,
36 See Section IV below.
to participate in peace talks with UN or other
international facilitation. Similarly, the government's
commitment paper of 26 March 2004 was welcomed
by diplomats and used to justify keeping Nepal off the
agenda at the 2004 CHR but there was no effort to
monitor and hold the government to its terms.37 At this
stage of an increasingly dirty war, it is not justifiable
to take either side at its word.
International concern over the human rights situation
had grown in the months prior to the royal coup. In
December 2004, the UN Working Group on Enforced
or Involuntary Disappearances visited and concluded
that "the phenomenon of disappearances in Nepal
today is widespread: its use by the Maoist insurgents
and the Nepalese security forces is arbitrary".38 This
was followed by a statement on 24 December by UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan calling on the
government to protect human rights defenders after
reports surfaced of an RNA "hit list", which included
leading members of civil society.39
The international community needs to recognise that its
previous stance was unsuccessful and adopt a much more
realistic approach to the current situation. There is no
need to change the frequently reiterated objectives of
pressing and assisting both sides to abide by international
humanitarian law and human rights norms. But the
consistent failure to achieve any progress towards these
objectives calls for a fresh start.
"His Majesty's Government's commitment on the
implementation of Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law" was produced during the 2004 CHR
discussions. The five-page document contained 25
commitments, such as the guarantee that, "No-one shall be
subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. Measures will be
undertaken to prevent illegal or arbitrary detention and forced
38 Advanced edited version of the report of the UN Working
Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances visit to
Nepal, 6-14 December 2004, paragraph 25, E/CN.4/2005/65/
Add.1,28 January 2005.
39 The Secretary General's statement was cited in "Annan
iterates concern and offer on Nepal", The Himalayan Times,
25 December 2004.
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page <
Arrests, Disappearances, Military
King Gyanendra's dismissal of a coalition
government and seizure of complete power have
been examined in earlier Crisis Group publications.40
The situation remains tense and uncertain. The royal
government has been fortunate that the mainstream
political parties have not aligned themselves directly
with the Maoists yet but many politicians warn that
continued assault on political and civil liberties can
only hasten that eventuality.41 There are already signs
that the parties are increasingly sympathetic towards
the Maoists' main demand of converting Nepal into a
republic.42 The human rights crisis has further
narrowed the democratic middle ground and
escalated abuses and threatens to intensify the
conflict. Vigilantism by government-backed militias
in Kapilvastu district indicates willing disregard of
the rule of law by the state. The Maoists have stepped
up blockades, strikes and military attacks, while
softening their tone towards the political parties and
allowing their cadres to work in rural areas.
At the royal government's first press conference, on 17
March 2005, Vice Chairman Peter Giri43 demanded the
political parties "comply with the king's call to seek a
political way out ofthe current situation". Toward the
Maoists his language was stronger and clearer:
As for the Maoists, Giri ruled out peace talks
with them until they disarmed. "We are not in
the mood to hold talks with them", he said.
"Whatever you term them, they are terrorists".
He, however, called on the Maoists to abandon
violence and "terrorist" activities and join
mainstream politics. "The situation in the
country has changed", he said. "They will get
no benefit by struggling from the jungles". He
said that if they did not do so, the security
forces were fully equipped and committed to
wiping out the Maoists.44
See fn. 1 above.
41 Crisis Group interviews with Nepali politicians in exile,
Delhi, February 2005.
42 "Nepal: Political parties compromise with Maoists, vow
fight to end", Inter Press Service, Bangkok, 15 March 2005.
43 Veteran royalist politician Tulsi Giri took the name "Peter"
when he converted from Hinduism to become a Jehova's
44 "Vice Chairman Giri extends olive branch to parties", 17
March 2005,
At the start of the king's coup on 1 February, security
forces began arresting politicians, student leaders and
human rights defenders. By the time King Gyanendra
spoke over state radio and television, soldiers were
guarding sensitive installations and government
buildings. The minute the king finished, arrests were
intensified. Hundreds of politicians were picked up in the
first hours. Human rights defenders were harassed or put
under surveillance. By the second day, when Gyanendra
announced a council of ministers with himself at its head,
it was clear the army was running the country, issuing
orders ranging from news censorship to warnings against
political protests. RNA headquarters was the centre of
activity. "The cabinet is just a facade", said a journalist
with close ties to the army.45
In the days following, as the Maoists prepared to take
advantage, the military was stretched on two fronts: not
only conducting a badly-run counterinsurgency
campaign but also doing police work, detaining
politicians and protestors and keeping Kathmandu's
streets free of opposition activity. The result was that the
Maoist blockade of the capital beginning 13 February
was effective despite RNA escorts of convoys. "Our
convoy came under attack from the rebels even though
there were RNA vehicles escorting us, foot patrols at
every kilometre along the highway and military
helicopters overhead", said a journalist who travelled
from Gorkha to Kathmandu.46
Its military strategy a failure and international
condemnation mounting, the RNA turned inwards.
Though censorship has made it difficult to know the true
extent of rights violations after 1 February, especially
outside Kathmandu, a few cases have come to light. A
reporter with a prominent publication was abducted in
early March in what was first claimed to be a Maoist
operation. It later transpired that the reporter was carried
off by the security forces.47 Protestors in Jhapa were
arrested by soldiers and severely tortured in the RNA
barracks at Chaarah. In the most egregious violations
since the coup, security forces have been implicated in
vigilante killings and arson in Kapilvastu district during
February. A foreign journalist who visited a few days
later reported they had encouraged villagers to kill fellow
45 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, 5 February 2005.
46 Crisis Group interview, Delhi, February 2005.
47 Himal Khabarpatrika reporter J.B. Pun Magar was
abducted in Lumbini on 10 March 2005. The magazine later
said he was taken away not by Maoists but by security forces,
f^un was released the following day after domestic and
international criticism of his abduction.
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 9
villagers and bum scores of houses of alleged Maoist
The royal government changed tack in early March
after it became clear that no major donor country or
institution supported its concerted assaults on democracy,
civil liberties and human rights. In an effort to placate
international opinion, it began releasing prominent
detainees.49 But arbitrary arrests have continued, and
there is concern that disappearances and torture are still
employed as well.50 Killings of purported Maoist
activists have also continued, though in the absence of
any independent confirmation the identities of those
killed and the circumstances of their deaths cannot be
b.     censorship and suspension of other
Emergency rule since 1 February has ended press
freedom. FM radio stations have been ordered to desist
from broadcasting news altogether.52 Print outlets and
television stations are monitored by government censors.
Though military censors were withdrawn from news
organisations after the first few days, stringent
guidelines have been issued to discourage independent
coverage of political and conflict issues. A senior
journalist says, "We can't report anything about the
"Nepal backed lynch mob rampage", The Telegraph,
London, 12 March 2005. Available at
49 Dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and
twenty others were freed on 11 March 2005. Several other
prominent politicians were released earlier, but at least three
top politicians - party leaders Girija Prasad Koirala (Nepali
Congress), Madhav Nepal (CPN-UML) and Amik Sherchan
(Janamorcha) ~ remain under house arrest.
50 "Government extends house arrest of leaders", The
Kathmandu Post, 4 March 2005; "Parties stage protest,
hundreds arrested,", The Kathmandu Post, 9 March 2005;
"Journalist arrested", The Kathmandu Post, 9 March 2005;
"Four student leaders arrested", The Kathmandu Post, 14
March 2005; "Over 750 protestors arrested nationwide", The
Kathmandu Post, 15 March 2005; "Channel Nepal scribe
arrested", The Kathmandu Post, 15 March 2005. See also,
"Situation Update: Human Rights inNepal", op. cit.
51 An editor of a leading daily newspaper said that his
reporters in the district have been ordered to file only news
released by the local security forces. They are not allowed to
make their own independent investigations. Crisis Group
interview, Kathmandu, March 2005.
52 The ban on radio station news has jeopardised the livelihood
of over 1,000 journalists nationwide. Crisis Group interviews
with journalists, Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ)
officials and radio station operators, Kathmandu, February-
March 2005.
RNA or Maoists without vetting it with the security
Even so, because of the international limelight, the press
in Kathmandu has been gradually pushing at its
boundaries. Authorities have released a few high-profile
journalists,54 and newspapers and magazines have started
reporting on political and conflict issues without consulting
censors. On 16 March Kathmandu and district branches
ofthe Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) petitioned
the government and local district administration offices to
restore freedom of expression.55 While this suggests gradual
relaxation of censorship, the situation in the districts —
where journalists were squeezed by both the government
and Maoists even before the coup — is much worse.
Editors and journalists have been arrested for writing on
political issues and also for protesting press restrictions,
and several vernacular weeklies and dailies have been
shut down.
Reporters Sans Borders (RSF) on 14 March listed Nepal
among the countries with the most imprisoned
journalists.56 "The journalists in the districts face far
greater constraints than in Kathmandu. They are the ones
facing the brunt ofthe emergency", another editor says.57
Even in Kathmandu, relaxation of censorship is a mirage.
The editor of Kantipur, the leading Nepali-language
daily, was summoned by the district police office on 17
March to answer about news coverage in his paper.
Since 1 February, freedom of association, travel, right to
property and other civil liberties except the right to habeas
corpus petitions have been suspended. This has affected
political gatherings and efforts to probe rights abuses. An
NHRC commissioner was stopped at the Kathmandu
airport in early March from flying to Rupandehi to
investigate allegations of vigilante justice in Kapilvastu
district. Former Speaker of Parliament Daman Nath
Dhungana was barred from flying to the U.S. Altogether,
about 200 politicians, human rights defenders, civil
society leaders, intellectuals and journalists have been put
on a list barring them from leaving Kathmandu.58 Many
Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, February-March 2005.
54 FNJ General Secretary Bishnu Nishthuri was released on 26
February 2005 after 21 days in detention, as was Kanak Dixit
on the night of 7 March after being detained for five hours.
55 Kantipur, 17 March 2005.
56 "Reporters Sans Frontiers has put Nepal among countries
with the largest number of imprisoned journalists. Nine out of
73 jailed journalists are in Nepal",,
15 March 2005. "FNJ calls for freedom of expression",, 16 March 2005.
57 Crisis Group interview, Kathmandu, March 2005.
58 Crisis Group interview with police officer, Kathmandu,
March 2005.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 10
only learn of this when they are turned away from the
C.    Vigilante Action: A Revival of
the Village Militias Plan?
The government first announced its intention to
introduce village militias to counter Maoists in
November 2003. Domestic and international outcry ~
including from Crisis Group59-- over the start of the
program in Sudama village of Sarlahi district forced it
to shelve the plan. However, the military continued
quietly developing the concept. Sporadic reports from
eastern Nepal in early 2004 indicated the RNA had
armed and trained villagers in Chulachuli and Larumba
villages of Ham district. In Jhapa, Sunsari, Morang,
Dhanusha and Dhankuta, local journalists and
intellectuals told Crisis Group they knew of RNA
encouragement and training for villagers to use armed
force to counter the Maoists.60 Though the RNA denied
it had such a policy, the now well-documented rampage
by vigilantes in the Kapilvastu district indicates the
government is again backing proxy militias.
From 17 February 2005, mobs beat and burned to death
at least 31 supposed Maoists or Maoist sympathisers.
Their actions were actively condoned by the local
security forces and then lauded by government
ministers. In the following weeks, local and international
journalists, human rights investigators and others have
been able to confirm details. The BBC reported:
At the height of the violence, three government
ministers came to address a crowd. Home Affairs
Minister Dan Bahadur Shahi says he knew they
had beaten twelve men to death. "I encouraged
their self-defence system", he told the BBC.
"Why shouldn't I, when the Maoists massacred
the people and burned their properties?"
Recourse to the courts "is not relevant during a
war", he continued. "They gathered, found them
and killed them. I thought I should praise them".
"Legally what these people are doing is a bad
thing. But it was done by the crowd", says
Major Sunil Gahle at a makeshift barracks in
Ganeshpur village. "The Maoists started their
looting and all these bad things, so the people
started this type of protection for themselves",
he said, predicting the government might soon
distribute firearms to villagers.61
Maoists subsequently retaliated and killed eleven people
who, they claimed, were vigilante leaders. Journalists
and rights investigators who travelled to the area after the
carnage reported the complicity of security forces in
encouraging villagers to use violence against suspected
Maoist sympathisers. A confidential report prepared by
rights monitors says, "In order to counter Maoist
violence, up to now villagers have burnt down over 600
houses in various Village Development Committees of
Kapilvastu district and have killed at least 46 persons.
Tens of thousands of other villagers have been displaced
from their homes to across the border in India".62
The Maoists are not without blame in the incident,
which, rights investigators found, started after they
abducted two residents of Ganeshpur village. Efforts
to release the two spiralled out of control, resulting in
widespread arson, looting and murder.
Based on interviews with the Chief District Officer and
the RNA major at the Ganeshpur temporary base camp,
the investigators concluded that the security forces
indirectly aided the vigilantes by marching behind them.
They tried to take control over the vigilantes only after
they had gone out of control. The violence, mostly carried
out by the majority plains community, appears to have
targeted villagers from hill communities. The report warns
that "there is clear danger that this conflagration could
soon lead to further communal violence". Suhas Chakma,
director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, stated
that, "The lynching of 22 alleged Maoists and burning down
of about 700 houses ofthe alleged Maoists sympathisers
in Kapilvastu district from 17 to 23 February 2005 by the
RNA and vigilante groups must be investigated by an
international commission of inquiry".63
At the royal government's first press conference, Minister
for Information and Communications Tanka Dhakal
reiterated government support for the vigilantes: "The
people have been forced to come out with courageous
retaliatory measures for peace. The government supports
such people and promises that in areas where people
See Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°30, Nepal: Dangerous
Plans for Village Militias, 17 February 2004.
60 Crisis Group interviews, 2004.
"Nepal's rising vigilante violence", BBC News, 14 March
2005, available at
62 Unpublished 38-page report by a committee of senior
human rights experts.
63 Asian Human Rights Commission Press Release PR/NEP/
03/03/05 "War crimes in Nepal", 14 March 2005, available at
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Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 11
have come with retaliatory measures, the government
will carry out [an] integrated development package".64
Fears over the implications of vigilante action have
been widespread ever since the village militia plans
were first announced in 2003. Given Nepal's complex
caste and ethnic composition and the array of festering
grievances harboured by diverse groups, vigilante
action could trigger communal and ethnic riots.
Villagers armed by the government could easily label
personal or political enemies as Maoist sympathisers
and take advantage of the lawless environment to
pursue their own agendas. The elimination of remaining
neutral space would force the population to choose one
side or the other; quite possibly they would be targeted
by both. As the BBC concluded: "Maoist violence and
misdirected counter-violence are taking on a frightening
life of their own. And the king's government is
encouraging the vigilantes".65
Most of the international community has spoken with
one voice on the immediate challenges for Nepal
following 1 February. While the royal coup has been
endorsed by Pakistan, North Korea and Cuba, and
described as Nepal's internal affair by Russia and China,
most other nations have demanded a fast return to
democracy. This message has been sent most forcefully
by the RNA's principal suppliers of military aid: India,
the U.S. and the UK. During U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's visit to New Delhi on 16 March
2005, she and Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh
explicitly agreed to work together to help restore
democracy. Secretary Rice said the Nepali government
needed get back on a democratic path: "That simply
must happen ... it needs to happen very, very soon".66
Respect for human rights is at the core not only of the
democratic process but also of national development
efforts, including those funded by donors. Despite some
early mixed signals — such as the Asian Development
Bank's signing of a large loan deal on the day following
the coup67 — most donors have issued warnings about
Press conference, Kathmandu, 17 March 2005.
65 "Nepal's rising vigilante violence", BBC News, op. cit
66 "Rice lauds India-Pakistan peace", BBC News, 16 March
67 "ADB has pledged $121 million for Nepal to gear up its
development initiatives. The ADB has unveiled this in its
country strategy program 2005-09", The Rising Nepal, 28
February 2005. However, ADB country director S. Hafeez
Rehman stated that, "In view of the recent political and
the likely implications ofthe coup. On 14 March, World
Bank Country Director for Nepal Ken Ohashi said that
running development projects in the absence of a free
press would be difficult and warned that it would hard to
speed up development under current circumstances.68
This followed a strong World Bank statement on 8
The Board expressed concerns about the security
situation in Nepal and the implementabihty of
projects. The Board also raised concerns about
the government's ability to continue
implementing difficult reforms in the absence of
representative mechanisms to build broad-based
consensus. But it broadly supported the cautious
approach proposed by management. Management
noted the Board's concerns and will continue to
consult closely with other development partners in
assessing the progress that the government makes
in reform implementation, as well as issues
related to the broader governance environment
of the country, including the rule of law and
protection of human rights.69
Following expressions of concern about the suspension of
democratic processes and rights by other European
nations, the Finnish embassy in Kathmandu underlined
that future assistance was being jeopardised. Addressing a
program in the western Baglung district, Charge
d'Affaires Pauli Mustonen reminded his audience that
Finland had invested in human rights after the restoration
of Nepali democracy in 1990. But he cautioned that
Finnish assistance would depend on democratic stability:
"Development is impossible in any country without
democracy".70 Failure to tackle the human rights crisis
will not only enable the continuation of abuses but
endanger Nepal's development for years to come.
security developments in Nepal, ADB is reviewing the
implications for its operation in Nepal". Indo Asian News
Service, 2 March 2005, available at
68 "Development work not possible without free press:
Ohashi",, 15 March 2005.
69 World Bank Statement on Nepal: "Continued Assistance
Will Depend On Demonstrated Commitment And Capacity
To Implement Reforms", News Release No:2005/372/SAR,
Washington D.C, 8 March 2005.
70 "Finland says aid dependent on democratic stability",, 15 March 2005.
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IV.    2003-2004: A YEAR OF MISSED
Despite significantly increased attention towards the
role of human rights in Nepal's crisis, the period since
the collapse of the last ceasefire in August 2003 has
been one of missed opportunities: failure to insist on the
proper prosecution of the Doramba case; slow and
misguided use of technical assistance; lack of follow-up
on the Chair's statement at the 2004 Commission on
Human Rights; and no testing of the Maoists' offers to
accept international monitoring. The many internationally-
backed initiatives have had no measurable positive
impact. They have been too small to challenge impunity
or bring the warring parties back to the peace table.
A.    The Doramba Case
The Doramba killings of unarmed Maoists in custody
described above gave the authorities a major opportunity
to impress on the RNA that the war must be fought
according to international law and to begin to end
military impunity. The failure to insist on satisfactory
prosecution sent the dangerous message that no one
need be held accountable even when there was a
watertight investigation of a major war crime.
The Doramba massacre was more than just a violation
of the law of armed combat: it unambiguously
demonstrated that the military had been given licence to
derail the peace process. The orders for the mass
extrajudicial executions can only have come from a
high level. Although the RNA has attributed exclusive
responsibility to the major in command, it is clear his
actions were sanctioned by superiors: if he had really
been a rogue operative sabotaging a sincere effort at
talks his punishment would have been swift and harsh.
Doramba illustrated that the military was empowered to
use mass executions as a deliberate strategy to undermine
peace talks. In combination with the weight of evidence
regarding other international humanitarian law violations
by the RNA it confirmed that abuses were not a result
of indiscipline or poor training but systemic and at the
very least acquiesced in by the senior officer corps.
In January 2004, the Maoist leadership, stung by
Amnesty International's sharp criticism of the
movement's  human   rights   record,   made   a  clear
statement that it would accept international human
rights monitoring.71 This was an ideal opportunity for
the international community to demand a series of
measures, such as signature of the Human Rights
Accord (HRA), as proposed by the NHRC in May
2003. But the Maoists were not challenged and tested
to deliver on their promise.
Until the HRA or a similar agreement is signed, discourse
on human rights will be futile and circular, with the
Maoists and the palace exchanging charges and
impugning each other's sincerity. Were the government to
sign the HRA, it might force the Maoists also to accept
concrete, verifiable commitments and face the
consequences of non-compliance. UN involvement
sanctioned by the HRA would also importantly leave the
Maoists with no chance to claim their foot-dragging on
peace talks was due to lack of international involvement.
The government's commitment paper of March 2004 was
the next missed opportunity. The first version provided to
European diplomats was a massive step backwards that
redefined and reduced the international standards to
which Nepal was already committed.72 The final version,
the outcome of ten days firm negotiation by EU
ambassadors, restated those existing commitments but,
as human rights experts warned at the time, the lack of a
monitoring mechanism — the one suggestion the
government steadfastly refused — rendered it meaningless in
practical terms. Some governments subsequently used
this restatement of commitments as an argument there
should be no mention of Nepal at the 2004 Commission
on Human Rights.
The inability of the international community to push
for reforms and improved protection based on the
commitment paper is a clear example of the dangers of
assuming goodwill where there is no evidence of genuine
commitment to change. The government could have
demonstrated such goodwill by taking steps that involved
no need for financial or other aid, for example by giving
"Our party has been taking the calls and concerns for peace
from the UN, European Union and other international human
rights organisations and individuals seriously, we have been
welcoming that', Prachanda, whose real name is Pushpa
Kamal Dahal, said in a statement today. 'We have also made
it clear that we would accept mediation and observation from
the UN toward creating an environment whereby people's
mandate could be solicited peacefully'", The Kathmandu
Post, 5 February 2004.
72 Crisis Group interview with European diplomats and UN
staff, March 2004.
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clear political backing to the Supreme Court over habeas
corpus orders or prosecuting human rights violators.
D.    Toothless Chair Statement at the
In April 2004 the UN Commission on Human Rights
took what could have been an important step in the
form of the chairman's statement urging the
commitment of the government to a monitoring effort
of sufficient scale to make an impact on impunity.
There was a perfect opportunity to follow up this
statement with practical measures at the major donors
meeting in Kathmandu in May, the Nepal Development
Forum. This did not happen, and it was only in
December that the OHCHR finally signed a
memorandum of understanding with the government,
the details of which have not yet been made public. By
the time ofthe royal coup, there had been no significant
increase in the UN's capacity to monitor the human
rights situation. It had even failed to appoint a human
rights and peace process senior adviser to the NHRC
due to wrangling over control ofthe selection process.
The overarching goals must be:
□ restoration of full civil and political rights,
including freedom of association, expression and
assembly, and establishment of democratic
□ full compliance with international humanitarian
law by both armed parties; and,
□ rapid resumption of the peace process with
international support, using human rights
engagement (such as a Human Rights Accord) as
a confidence-building measure.
It is crucial that the international community present a
coherent, common position on recent events but the
primary responsibility for action rests with the armed
parties to the conflict, the government and the Maoists.
The following sections outline the most important steps
they and the international community should take.73
The key measures which should be taken immediately by
the royal government require neither great resources nor
external technical assistance. The royal government
Reverse the suspension of rights since 1 February.
The immediate steps include: (i) releasing politicians,
human rights defenders, journalists and others currently
held in preventive detention; (ii) lifting the state of
emergency;74 (iii) ending the suspension of constitutional
rights; and (iv) removing media censorship to allow
reporting of human rights violations and honest war
End the practice of enforced disappearances by security
forces. Competent civilian authorities should investigate
all disappearance cases and prosecute those responsible.75
This is a concise overview. Most of the individual points
are addressed in more detail in the many reports by specialist
human rights NGOs cited above.
74 States have a right to declare emergencies but the current
state of emergency in Nepal has been imposed illegally. The
manner of its declaration and the derogation from
fundamental obligations are in breach of Nepal's domestic
law and international conventions. For a detailed explanation,
see "Nepal: The Rule of Law Abandoned", International
Commission of Jurists, 17 March 2005.
75 See "Nepal: Escalating 'disappearances' amid a culture of
impunity", Amnesty International, 30 August 2004, available at
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Renounce the use of vigilante groups. Recourse to
village militias and other extrajudicial means to
tackle the Maoists is counterproductive and has
already produced gross human rights violations. If
the government continues to encourage this, the
conflict will intensify and become more intractable.
Cooperate with the international community to
tackle the human rights crisis by (i) accepting a
strong UN-led international human rights monitoring
mission; (ii) accepting appointment of a Special
Rapporteur and issuing a standing invitation to the
thematic mechanisms of the Commission on Human
Rights to visit Nepal;76 (iii) allowing the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to fulfil its
mandate; and (iv) encouraging the National Human
Rights Commission (NHRC) to accept standing offers
of technical assistance.
End the culture of impunity. The royal government
can take immediate steps to demonstrate commitment
to ending the culture of impunity enjoyed by human
rights abusers by (i) guaranteeing the independence
of the judiciary and ensuring security forces' full
cooperation with the courts; (ii) prosecuting those
responsible for the Doramba killings as demanded by
the OHCHR in September 2003; (iii) investigating
and prosecuting in the civilian courts other cases of
alleged rights abuses, including gender-based
violence; (iv) issuing clear instructions to all security
forces that any torture or other human rights
violations will be punished; and (v) recognising that
the National Human Rights Action Plan, a collection
of "mainstreaming" and awareness-raising measures
which has been strongly criticised by experts, is an
insufficient and inappropriate response to the current
situation and urgently developing effective measures
to address the human rights protection crisis.
Strengthen the legal framework for human rights
and international humanitarian law by (i) ensuring
full compliance with Nepal's existing commitments
under domestic and international law;77 (ii) repealing
or   amending   the   Public   Security   Act   and   the
and "Clear Culpability: Disappearances' by Security Forces
in Nepal", Human Rights Watch 1 March 2005, available at
76 On thematic mechanisms see "Nepal: Human Rights
Concerns for the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on
Human Rights", Human Rights Watch 10 March 2005,
available at
77 For example, the International Convention on Civil and
Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of all
Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Terrorism and Destructive Activities Ordinance;78 (iii)
signing the Human Rights Accord (HRA); (iv) signing
the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions;
and (v) signing the Rome Statute on the International
Criminal Court.
Strengthen the capacity of the NHRC. The royal
government should ensure that the principal national
body responsible for monitoring human rights is able
to carry out its responsibilities by (i) extending the
term ofthe current Commissioners; (ii) permitting the
Commissioners and other NHRC officers to travel
freely and fulfil their mandate effectively; (iii)
respecting the physical integrity of the offices in
Kathmandu, Biratnagar and Nepalgunj so that the
NHRC can protect sensitive information on victims
and their relatives; and (iv) ensuring that other
agencies such as the Human Rights Promotion Centre
and the security forces' human rights cells are not used
to undermine the work ofthe NHRC.79
b.    action by the communist party of
Nepal (Maoist)
Cease human rights violations and adhere in full to
international humanitarian law. The Maoists must in
particular (i) respect the rights of the civilian population
and hors de combat security forces; (ii) release political
detainees immediately; (iii) halt the intimidation, torture
and killing of political workers, journalists and others;
and (iv) give and enforce clear instructions to all cadres
on human rights and international humanitarian law.
Work towards confidence building and rapid
resumption of the peace process. The Maoists should
(i) sign the Human Rights Accord; (ii) cooperate with
national and international human rights monitors; and
See "Nepal: The Rule of Law Abandoned", International
Commission of Jurists, 17 March 2005.
79 Human rights cells were established within the armed and
civilian police forces in January 2001 and within the RNA in
July 2002. A similar cell was established in the Home Ministry
in January 2003, and a Human Rights Promotion Centre under
the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers' office was
established in December 2003. The latter has served primarily
as a smokescreen for lack of action and as a rival body to the
NHRC. The police and RNA cells have neither prevented
rights violations nor addressed the culture of impunity. See
"Nepal: Escalating 'disappearances' amid a culture of
impunity", Amnesty International, 30 August 2004, available at 311552004. On
17 March 2005, the government announced the formation of a
further nine-member High-level Committee for Protection of
Human Rights headed by the Attorney-General (see Section VI
A below).
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(iii) develop transparent methods for dealing with rights
abuses, including cases of gender-based violence.
c.    action at the commission on
Human Rights
The member states of the UN Commission on Human
Rights (CHR) should use its 61st session to address
Nepal's human rights crisis, recognising that it is too
grave for this to be done by technical assistance alone.
Whichever CHR mechanism is employed, the
Commission should establish an effective international
monitoring presence in Nepal by:
□ deploying a clearly mandated mission ofthe Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR), adequately staffed by international
monitors and national support staff sufficient to
work across Nepal's difficult terrain;
□ ensuring that the head ofthe mission is of sufficient
UN rank and ability to collate, evaluate and act on
the information gathered by monitors; and
□ ensuring that the mission and its monitors are
respected by both armed parties to the conflict
and its work is absolutely neutral.
Additionally, the Commission should:
□ appoint a Special Rapporteur;
□ establish viable mechanisms to guarantee human
rights improvements; and
□ encourage the government to issue a standing
invitation to the thematic mechanisms of the
Commission, including the Special Rapporteur on
Violence against Women, to visit.
D.    Other International Action
The international community as a whole, including
CHR member states, diplomatic missions to Nepal,
bilateral and multilateral donors should take a range of
further measures. As in all armed conflicts, the basic
requirement the international community should insist
on is ensuring that the ICRC has unhindered access,
without prior warning, to all detainees and the ability to
interview them confidentially. Other urgent steps include:
Use available leverage to end the culture of impunity.
The international community can use its leverage to
bring effective pressure for improvements by: (i)
preparing to suspend the RNA from UN peacekeeping
operations if it does not improve its record; (ii) making
human rights protection a condition of military and other
assistance; and (iii) demonstrating that it is prepared,
through the UN Security Council, to authorise the
International Criminal Court to exercise jurisdiction over
exceptionally serious violations of international
humanitarian law by either the state or the Maoists unless
such violations cease and/or are submitted to fair and
impartial domestic investigation and prosecution.80
Support the NHRC. Donors have already played a
major role in building the NHRC's capacity and
providing political support but this has not been enough,
and stronger measures are needed, including: (i)
demanding that its statute be respected in both letter and
spirit so it can fulfil its mandate; (ii) insisting on the
extension of the current Commissioners' term; and (iii)
planning, funding and implementing (most probably
through the UN) all appropriate assistance it requests.
Help build non-governmental human rights capacity.
The international community has a role to play in
defending and strengthening national human rights
NGOs, including women's organisations, and relevant
professional associations, such as the Nepal Bar
Association and the Federation of Nepali Journalists. It
should also assist in developing practical programs for
protecting human rights defenders.
Support the judicial system. Short-term steps to help
strengthen the judiciary include: (i) sending an
international mission to assess current capacity and
evaluate what it is able to do in light ofthe suspension of
constitutional rights; and (ii) designing immediate
measures, including training and infrastructure support,
in consultation with the Supreme Court and the Nepal
Bar Association.
Address humanitarian concerns. In conjunction with
human rights measures, the deteriorating humanitarian
situation requires attention. Appropriate immediate
actions include: (i) ensuring identification and protection
for the increasing numbers of internally displaced
persons (IDPs); (ii) recommending that the UN Resident
Coordinator in Nepal also be appointed Humanitarian
Coordinator; and (iii) ensuring that the UN Office for the
Coordination  of Humanitarian  Affairs   (OCHA)  has
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour
raised the possibility of such investigations and prosecutions
during her visit to Nepal in January 2005, shortly before the
royal coup, Nepal is not a signatory to the Rome Statute
establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) but the
Security Council could authorise that Court to exercise
jurisdiction similar to what is currently under discussion with
respect to the situation in the Darfur area of Sudan. The U.S.,
which objects to the ICC, has opposed such a referral on Darfur
and supports the use of an ad hoc tribunal.
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Page 16
sufficient capacity to respond if the situation worsens
Plan longer-term action. Now is the time to start
preparing for further action such as: (i) provision of
technical assistance as part of a peace process, for
example in election monitoring, cantonment of arms, and
disarming, demobilising and reintegrating former
combatants; (ii) strengthening democratic institutions;
and (iii) assisting in security sector reform to ensure a
stable transition to a responsible, well trained and
democratically controlled military complemented by a
clearly separate civilian police force.
Nepal's allies and donors. Despite significant differences
in perspectives and approaches, the major international
players share a large common ground on Nepal. The
desire to see the conflict resolved with the country stable
and able to pursue economic, social and political
development is almost universal. Despite initial fears in
the Indian press about Nepal "playing the China card"
Indian diplomats are not overly concerned: China, too,
wishes to see the conflict contained and has consistently
been reluctant to become directly involved. Its foreign
policy priorities lie elsewhere, and it is unlikely to
undermine a reasonable international consensus. European
donors have major, longstanding concerns over the human
rights situation. The European Union has reassured India
and the U.S. that its basic position is in consonance with
theirs. India has been the most prominent advocate of
democratic rights in the post-coup period. Indications
that New Delhi and Washington might look favourably
on a CHR resolution have further strengthened the sense
of shared purpose. While differences in understanding
between various embassies in Kathmandu persist,
international actors have much more in common than
even they themselves may realise. The prospects for a
coherent multilateral approach to the conflict are
probably better than ever.81 The Commission on Human
Rights will be one test of the viability of a united front.
Beyond that, discussions on formalising a multilateral
contact group hold out the possibilities of coordinated
action towards a longer-term peace process.82
The United Nations. The UN has a particularly important
role to play on human rights, through both the Secretary
General's good offices and substantive technical
assistance under a CHR mandate. The OHCHR has a
unique capacity to manage an effective field monitoring
mission. The UN is also widely respected in Nepal across
political and civil war divides. There are valid concerns
about its ability to mediate the conflict but it will not
automatically be preordained to attempt this if it does on-
the-ground human rights monitoring, which could in
turn form a valuable basis for future humanitarian,
ceasefire, election monitoring or other peace building
81 In the period since 1 February, Crisis Group has interviewed
dozens of senior diplomats in Kathmandu, New Delhi,
Washington, New York, London, Geneva, Bern, Brussels,
Berlin, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and other capitals.
82 See Crisis Group Briefing, Nepal: Responding to the Royal
Coup, op. cit, for a concise description of contact group options.
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The 61st Commission on Human Rights. The annual
CHR is the logical forum for a concerted multilateral
effort to tackle Nepal's human rights crisis. Lessons
learned from the 2004 CHR's failure to halt deterioration
in the situation may now be put to good use. The ideal
outcome would be for the Nepali government to accept
robust international assistance in addressing its
challenges.83 In his address at the start of the CHR
Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey insisted, "we are
committed to our human rights obligations even in the
extremely difficult situation at present".84 Nevertheless,
there are consistent indications from Kathmandu that
the royal government will resist decisive action. For
example, the Director of the Human Rights Promotion
Centre in the Prime Minister's Office, Diwakar Pant,
has insisted there is no need for a Special Rapporteur.85
Officials apparently still hope a combination of token
gestures and international indecisiveness may allow
them to avoid anything serious. Coordinated international
planning for a strong resolution may be the only way
forward. The key issues that should inform the debate
□ Outcome not promises. The strongest paper
commitments cannot guarantee implementation.
Member states will have to consider how to hold a
reluctant government to its commitments and help
it to fulfil them. A monitoring mission would be a
good start.
□ Types of resolution. Discussion over whether a
technical assistance resolution under Agenda Item
19 is more appropriate than a stronger condemnatory
resolution under Agenda Item 9 should not take
precedence over consideration ofthe outcome. The
current momentum towards an Item 9 resolution is
logical and appropriate as long as it delivers a
viable monitoring mechanism.86
□ Special Rapporteur. The appointment of a
Special Rapporteur has many advantages but in
itself would do nothing to address the immediate
crisis. In the absence of a strong monitoring
mission, it would almost certainly be ineffective. If
a Special Rapporteur is to be effective, it can only
be as an addition to a field monitoring presence.
Other leverage. The Nepali government is heavily
dependent on external political, military, financial and
As outlined in Section V A above.
84 "Pandey defends royal move at Geneva meet", 16 March 2005.
85 "There is no need for UN special rapporteur: Official", 14 March 2005.
86 Agenda Item 19 is normally used for technical assistance
subjects while Item 9 is normally reserved for condemnatory
development support and is therefore relatively easy to
lean on.87 The Maoists, however, have tended to be more
or less immune to outside pressure. Their insurgency is
largely funded and sustained domestically so supply lines
cannot readily be cut; whatever links there are with
Indian rebels do not appear to be essential. Military
pressure has proved if anything counterproductive. But
the Maoists do not want to be permanent pariahs and
wish to keep the door open to becoming a party of
government. That creates a possibility to influence their
human rights behaviour by making it a test oftheir good
faith and reliability.88
The danger of token gestures. The Nepali government
is likely to make a number of token gestures during the
CHR timed to create an impression at crucial points in
the discussions. Such gestures might include:
□ release of certain political leaders, perhaps leaders
ofthe Nepali Congress and CPN-UML parties;89
□ relaxation of censorship, particularly in the English-
language media, which has greater external visibility
than domestic influence;
□ senior pledges on human rights and multiparty
□ limited disciplinary action against a few low-
ranking rights abusers;91
□ assurances that the emergency measures are
dramatically improving the security situation;92
See Crisis Group Briefing, Nepal: Responding to the Royal
Coup, op. cit, for discussion of options including smart
sanctions and targeted aid freezes.
88 See above, Section IVB.
89 For example, the vice chairman of the royal government,
Peter Giri, stated in the government's first press conference
that it was continuously releasing detained political leaders.
In response to a question on press censorship, Giri said all the
present measures had been taken for security reasons and
would be gradually relaxed as the situation eased. "Vice
Chairman Giri extends olive branch to parties", op. cit.
90 Peter Giri has asserted that the king's stated commitment to
multiparty democracy was a sufficient guarantee in itself: "As
the king has said that he wants to reenergise democracy, the
system is not in danger", ibid.
91 For example, it was announced on 15 March 2005 that an
RNA Court of Inquiry had concluded that "some mistakes"
led to the "incident" resulting in the death of fifteen-year-old
Maina Sunar on 17 February 2004. Given that the "incident"
involved the abduction, torture, rape and killing of an
innocent schoolgirl, the term "mistake" seems an inappropriate
understatement. "RNA admits mistake in Kharelthok incident",
15 March 2005,
92 For example, Foreign Minister Ramesh Nath Pandey is
reported to have briefed some of his counterparts gathered in
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□ offering to accept watered-down benchmarks that
restate existing commitments without providing
mechanisms for implementation.
There is danger such gestures may be mistaken for
genuine change and used to justify allowing the royal
government to avoid action. This danger can be readily
judged by the experience of the 26 March 2004
commitment paper described above. Already the royal
government and RNA show increasing sophistication in
their suppression of dissent. Only a few prominent
human rights defenders are being detained but others
are being subjected to a range of less visible, no less
effective harassment and intimidation techniques such
as surveillance of homes and offices, threatening phone
calls and travel restrictions.93
A new nine-member High-level Committee for Protection
of Human Rights under the chairmanship ofthe Attorney-
General has been announced. Minister for Information
and Communication Tanka Dhakal explained: "With a
view to strengthening the National Human Rights
Commission and making it effective, the committee will
assist to the commission in monitoring and investigation
of human rights".94 The way to make the NHRC effective,
however, would be to allow it to fulfil its mandate. The
new committee's role is obscure and almost certainly
obstructionist: while it will "take necessary measures
concerning cases of violations of human rights in line
with the commitments made in March last year", it "will
decide its own scope of work and rules of procedures".95
Why only target the government? The other
predictable fallback for the royal government will be to
ask why disproportionate demands are made on the
state. Officials will point out that draft resolutions and
non-governmental reports such as this ask more of the
government than of the Maoists, even though the
insurgents initiated the conflict. The simple response is
that the demands are commensurate with the status and
responsibilities ofthe two sides. The Maoists are obliged
to adhere to the minimum standards of international law
~ a demand reiterated here as in all statements by
governments and NGOs. But governments have greater
responsibilities. The Maoists would be most happy to
have symmetrical demands made of them that would
imply a moral and practical equivalency between
Geneva about the cunent law and security situation,
insisting that it "was improving rapidly and in a significant
manner". "FM Pandey meets ministers of different countries
in Geneva", 17 March 2005,
93 Crisis Group interviews with human rights defenders,
Kathmandu and New Delhi, February-March 2005.
94 "Govt, forms human rights committee", 17 March 2005,
95 Ibid.
themselves and the state. They would see this as a
vindication of their claim to be a "new regime" equal to
the "old regime". It is by fulfilling its judicial,
constitutional and administrative duties that the state can
demonstrate moral superiority.
Piecemeal measures to improve the human rights
situation, such as those attempted through 2004, are
inadequate given the depth ofthe crisis. Remedial action
must be on a scale which reflects the size ofthe problem
ifthe vast majority of Nepalis, particularly those outside
the Kathmandu Valley, are not to be left at the mercy of
the Maoists and the RNA.
Government security forces are unable to be present much
beyond the confines ofthe district headquarters. This leaves
the civilian population, most of whom owe little allegiance
to either the King or the Maoists, prey to rebel extortion and
"justice". At the same time, the RNA is likely to continue
its practice of killing more civilians than combatants as it
comes under pressure to show that, post-1 February, it is
making significant gains. In short, it is the civilians who
will suffer until a peace process is back on track.
1.       Beyond technical assistance
Technical assistance is useful when there is relative
political stability and political will to improve human
rights protection. It is, however, a wholly inappropriate
response to Nepal's acute human rights protection crisis in
a context of civil war and political uncertainty. In any
case, technical assistance should be based on the needs
identified through monitoring. The magnitude of the
problem makes tinkering and small initiatives futile.
Indeed, many otherwise worthy efforts could unwittingly
feed the crisis. Those responsible for violations are quick
to point to the existence of any human rights project to
deflect attention from their record. They use any technical
assistance as a smoke screen, claiming efforts are
underway, and time is needed for the results to appear.
The government's National Human Rights Action Plan is
unwieldy and at best long-term: it fails to address the
immediate protection crisis and is used by the
government to distract attention from pressing problems.
In early 2004, for example, a Nepali minister meeting a
European ambassador to discuss lack of progress on the
Doramba case, started by handing over a draft of the
Plan, the existence of which, he said, should lead the
international community to go easy on specific cases.96
Crisis Group interview with European diplomat, March
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The experience with the March 2004 commitment
paper at the 2004 Commission on Human Rights has
already been discussed. Unless the scale ofthe remedy
matches the scale ofthe problem, and unless the remedy
creates critical mass in response to the crisis, ineffectual
interventions will be used as an alibi to continue
widespread violations.
2.       Towards a successful monitoring operation
The management, political and technical, of any human
rights monitoring operation will be key for its success
or failure. The gathering of credible information, a
tough task with security implications, is merely the
beginning. The objective is to process and then use the
information to encourage an end of violations. Therein
lies the start to confidence building, a prerequisite if an
atmosphere conducive to a genuine peace process is to
be created. It is also an important tool with which to
prevent sabotage of a renewed process by those on both
sides who oppose a move to peace.
Significant improvement in the human rights situation
demands a genuine peace process but this can happen
only after a significant improvement in the current
levels of confidence. Only one major confidence-
building measure is on the table: the NHRC's Human
Rights Accord. An acceptable equivalent arrangement,
if it is not possible to orchestrate signature of this
document, might be a combination ofthe government's
March 2004 commitment paper and permission for the
OHCHR to deploy a critical mass of human rights
observers ~ at least fifteen or twenty. However, it
would be necessary to get public Maoist support for this
monitoring, both to make the effort effective politically
and for use as a lever to improve the security situation
of those implementing it on the ground.
The task of monitors in remote areas would be to reveal
violations that the belligerents wish to keep hidden. For
success and credibility, the monitors must have
unannounced access to places of detention of both sides.
This requires prior commitment by the parties. There is
an obvious danger in deploying monitors without Maoist
agreement: if they are refused access by the Maoists,
they will be forced to remain in the district headquarters
and be vulnerable to accusations that they are only
monitoring the state security forces. Further, both parties
must be conscious that failure to comply with their
commitments to a monitoring process would have a
political cost at the international level. Above all though,
the activities of a monitoring mission have to be seen to
be both professionally competent and politically neutral.
The UN's many human rights missions over the past
decade show that monitoring has to be carefully adapted
to a specific environment if it is to lead to an improved
situation; the cataloguing of violations is the essential
first step; processed information must then be presented
to the parties to the conflict in such a way that it has a
positive impact on their conduct. It is necessary to ensure
buy-in from the parties, which in turn raises the political
cost of ignoring findings and recommendations of the
agreed monitoring body. The sending authority of the
mission itself controls several key factors, such as
personnel, particularly the leadership; the clarity and
feasibility of the mandate; the financial resources;
security of the monitors; adequate training to ensure
uniformity of procedures and reporting; and the capacity
at headquarters to collate and analyse the information.
The mission must be able to provide comprehensive
nationwide reporting in order to defend itself from the
inevitable accusations of partiality as both sides attempt
to mitigate the political cost of findings against them.
A human rights monitoring mission must hit the ground
running. Any serious impact is likely to occur in the first
year, when the stakeholders tend to attribute greatest
importance to its findings. A slow build-up of monitoring
capacity can be a fatal weakness. Much depends,
therefore, on the quality of initial deployment. It is also
essential that stakeholders be ready to intervene in the
political space which the newly deployed mission will
create. Monitors in the field without political guidance,
the support of desk officers at headquarters, and a public
information campaign about their mission can achieve
almost nothing.
3.       Preconditions for a successful monitoring
There are serious security issues which affect both the
mission members, national and international, and all
those with whom they have contact, particularly victims
and witnesses. While standard security procedures need
to be followed, the overwhelming influence on the
security of all concerned is political. The parties to the
conflict must at a minimum be locked publicly into the
project in such a manner that they would incur a political
cost locally if they breached their commitment to it. It
would be irresponsible to send monitors into a conflict
situation without at least a basic commitment by both
sides to respect their integrity and allow them to work as
their mandate specified
The credibility of a mission can be fatally damaged by
flawed information work or failure to achieve an
impact. Informants are aware of the risks in
cooperating. If there are no results as a result of that
cooperation, it will quickly dry up.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 20
Effective action on human rights, starting with a CHR
resolution, can form the base for a peacebuilding
□ the human rights dimension is the most significant
available confidence-building avenue;
□ human rights pressure offers some potential
leverage on the Maoists;
□ multilateral action on human rights complements
other political efforts underway and a possible
contact group;
□ the human rights dimension is a subject on which
major states and the UN can work in concert while
retaining distinct roles; and
□ human rights efforts can complement and
reinforce a parallel "development track" of
confidence building through the existing Basic
Operating Guidelines group of major donors.97
The crisis of protection clearly parallels the deepening
military conflict and will only begin to be mitigated
meaningfully by initiation of a genuine peace process.
The international human rights response, therefore,
should focus on creating a context that will help produce
such a peace process. It is widely agreed the failure of
the last peace talks (marked by the breakdown of the
January 2003 ceasefire on 27 August 2003) was at least
in part due to underlying lack of confidence between the
parties to the conflict. Human rights activities should be
conceived of, and designed as confidence-building
measures. A crucial first step would be a joint political
statement by the belligerents on human rights measures,
along with a means to assess compliance. This can only
be achieved by creating a mechanism that provides
credible and prompt information on violations, both to
dispel rumours and mistrust and to create the possibility
of restoring the rule of law. The public needs to be
convinced it is possible to move beyond the arbitrary
exercise of power by both sides.
At this stage of the conflict, it is important to take
initiatives which change the political atmosphere and
break with the past practices of both parties. This
requires boldness on a scale sufficient to have visible
impact. One such move is the monitoring proposed in
The Basic Operating Guidelines were developed by a
consortium of major European donors in collaboration with
the UN.
the NHRC's HRA. As High Commissioner for Human
Rights Louise Arbour urged:
Chief among [the necessary measures] is the need
for both parties to the conflict to sign and
implement the Human Rights Accord drawn up by
the National Human Rights Commission. This
Accord is nothing more than a reiteration of
obligations which already bind both the
Government and the CPN/Maoist. A failure to sign
the Accord by either party calls into question the
sincerity of their professed commitment to the
welfare ofthe people of Nepal. Equally, I have no
doubt that the signing ofthe Accord by both parties,
coupled with genuine efforts to implement its
provisions, will serve to build confidence, which
is, in turn, a vital prerequisite for a genuine and
lasting peace.98
The last round of peace talks, from January to August
2003, was supposedly regulated by a comprehensive 22-
point Code of Conduct, which covered most fundamental
rights and was considered an indication of mutual good
will when it was signed on 13 March 2003.99 While the
ceasefire was broadly respected until the Doramba
massacre of 17 August, the Code of Conduct was
constantly violated, in part, at least, due to its lack of
precision. Most crucially, though, it had no monitoring
mechanism, so breaches carried little political cost. This
contributed to the fact that the ceasefire failed to build
The more the international community appears to accept
statements in lieu of concrete measures, the more the
Maoists will conclude that mouthing human rights pieties
will be enough to open the door to their return to the
political mainstream. A softly-softly approach with the
government forces in the face of massive violations
merely sends a signal to the Maoists that they can get
away with the same.
There are indications that the Maoists recognise that their
best chance of achieving some of their objectives is to
negotiate their way back into the mainstream of Nepali
politics. They are, however, aware that their return to
democratic politics will  require the  sanction  of the
Press statement, op. cit.
99 The 22-point code of conduct signed by the government and
Maoists stipulated, among other things, that the RNA would
remain in current positions and would not carry out armed
searches or arrests of Maoist activists, "Both sides have agreed
to refrain from displaying weapons or strength which may
tenorize the public and will resist from resorting to violence
and other means that may vitiate or derail the peace process",
Information and Communication Minister Ramesh Nath
Pandey, Agence France-Presse, 13 March 2004.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005 Page 21
international community. It is unfortunate that over the
past year their offers to accept both international human
rights monitoring and UN facilitation in the peace
process have been ignored and therefore gone untested.
At this stage of an increasingly dirty war, it would be
unwise to take the statements of either belligerent at
face value but neither can the international community
afford to pass over opportunities, however limited.
Equally damaging would be to accept the king's current
argument that one is either with him or against him.
There are other options. If developed coherently, human
rights interventions could be an important step towards
a peace process.
An effective human rights monitoring effort would need
to be preceded by political agreement from the
government and the Maoists at least along the lines of
the HRA. Political commitment to the improvement of
human rights is a pre-requisite for successful progress
towards the rule of law. Improved compliance with
international humanitarian and human rights law by the
belligerents is a necessary step towards peace and
meaningful restoration of democracy. Equally, there is
little chance of significant improvement in the human
rights crisis until there is a renewed peace process. The
HRA should be implemented in such a way that it
becomes a confidence-building measure and
encourages the belligerents to return to the peace table.
The end ofthe conflict and improvement in respect for
human rights are inextricably linked.
Without concrete action on human rights and the full
enjoyment of democratic rights, a "swift return to
democracy" as called for by the major powers with
influence in Nepal would be little more than a return to
the unsatisfactory status quo ante. Nepal's people would
be condemned to further erosion of their rights and
gross violations by both armed parties, and resolution of
the conflict would be at least as far away as ever.
Kathmandu/Brussels, 24 March 2005
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 22
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Courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 23
The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an
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over 100 staff members on five continents, working
through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to
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Crisis Group's approach is grounded in field research.
Teams of political analysts are located within or close by
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March 2005
Further information about Crisis Group can be obtained from our website:
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 24
The IMU and the Hizb-ut-Tahrir: Implications of the
Afghanistan Campaign, Asia Briefing N°ll, 30 January 2002
(also available in Russian)
Central Asia: Border Disputes and Conflict Potential, Asia
Report N°33, 4 April 2002
Central Asia: Water and Conflict, Asia Report N°34, 30 May
Kyrgyzstan's Political Crisis: An Exit Strategy, Asia Report
N°37, 20 August 2002
The OSCE in Central Asia: A New Strategy, Asia Report
N°38, 11 September 2002
CentralAsia: The Politics of Police Reform, Asia Report N°42,
10 December 2002
Cracks in the Marble: Turkmenistan's Failing Dictatorship,
Asia Report N°44, 17 January 2003
Uzbekistan's Reform Program: Illusion or Reality?, Asia
Report N°46, 18 February 2003 (also available in Russian)
Tajikistan: A Roadmap for Development, Asia Report N°51,
24 April 2003
CentralAsia: Last Chance for Change, Asia Briefing N°25, 29
Apnl 2003
Radical Islam in Central Asia: Responding to Hizb ut-Tahrir,
Asia Report N°58, 30 June 2003
Central Asia: Islam and the State, Asia Report N°59, 10 July
Youth in Central Asia: Losing the New Generation, Asia
Report N°66, 31 October 2003
Is Radical Islam Inevitable in Central Asia? Priorities for
Engagement, Asia Report N°72, 22 December 2003
The Failure of Reform in Uzbekistan: Ways Forward for the
International Community, Asia Report N°76, 11 March 2004
Tajikistan's Politics: Confrontation or Consolidation?, Asia
Briefing N°33, 19 May 2004
Political Transition in Kyrgyzstan: Problems and Prospects,
Asia Report N°81, 11 August 2004
Repression and Regression in Turkmenistan: A New
International Strategy, Asia Report N°85, 4 November 2004
(also available in Russian)
The Curse of Cotton: Central Asia's Destructive Monoculture,
Asia Report N°93, 28 February 2005
Taiwan Strait I: What's Left of "One China"?, Asia Report
N°53, 6 June 2003
Taiwan Strait II: The Risk of War, Asia Report N°54, 6 June
Taiwan Strait III: The Chance of Peace, Asia Report N°55, 6
June 2003
North Korea: A Phased Negotiation Strategy, Asia Report N°61,
1 August 2003
Taiwan Strait IV: How an Ultimate Political Settlement Might
Look, Asia Report N°75, 26 February 2004
North Korea: Where Next for the Nuclear Talks?, Asia Report
N°87, 15 November 2004
Korea Backgrounder: How the South Views its Brother from
Another Planet, Asia Report N°89, 14 December 2004 (also
available in Korean and in Russian)
Pakistan: The Dangers of Conventional Wisdom, Pakistan
Briefing N°12, 12 March 2002
Securing Afghanistan: The Need for More International
Action, Afghanistan Briefing N°13, 15 March 2002
The Loya Jirga: One Small Step Forward? Afghanistan &
Pakistan Briefing NT 7, 16 May 2002
Kashmir: Confrontation and Miscalculation, Asia Report
N°35, 11 July 2002
Pakistan: Madrasas, Extremism and the Military, Asia Report
N°36, 29 July 2002
The Afghan Transitional Administration: Prospects and
Perils, Afghanistan Briefing NT 9, 30 July 2002
Pakistan: Transition to Democracy? Asia Report N°40, 3
October 2002
Kashmir: The View From Srinagar, Asia Report N°41,21
November 2002
Afghanistan: Judicial Reform and Transitional Justice, Asia
Report N°45, 28 January 2003
Afghanistan: Women and Reconstruction, Asia Report N°48.
14 March 2003 (also available in Dari)
Pakistan: The Mullahs and the Military, Asia Report N°49,
20 March 2003
Nepal Backgrounder: Ceasefire - Soft Landing or Strategic
Pause?, Asia Report N°50, 10 April 2003
Afghanistan's Flawed Constitutional Process, Asia Report
N°56, 12 June 2003 (also available in Dari)
Nepal: Obstacles to Peace, Asia Report N°57, 17 June 2003
Afghanistan: The Problem of Pashtun Alienation, Asia
Report N°62, 5 August 2003
Peacebuilding in Afghanistan, Asia Report N°64, 29 September
Disarmament and Reintegration in Afghanistan, Asia Report
N°65, 30 September 2003
Nepal- Back to the Gun, Asia Briefing N°28, 22 October 2003
Kashmir: The View from Islamabad, Asia Report N°68, 4
December 2003
Kashmir: The View from New Delhi, Asia Report N°69, 4
December 2003
Kashmir: Learning from the Past, Asia Report N°70, 4
December 2003
Afghanistan: The Constitutional Loya Jirga, Afghanistan
Briefing N°29, 12 December 2003
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 25
Unfulfilled Promises: Pakistan's Failure to Tackle Extremism,
Asia Report N°73, 16 January 2004
Nepal: Dangerous Plans for Village Militias, Asia Briefing
N°30, 17 February 2004 (also available in Nepali)
Devolution in Pakistan: Reform or Regression?, Asia Report
N°77, 22 March 2004
Elections and Security in Afghanistan, Asia Briefing N°31, 30
March 2004
India/Pakistan Relations and Kashmir: Steps toward Peace,
Asia Report N°79, 24 June 2004
Pakistan: Reforming the Education Sector, Asia Report N°84,
7 October 2004
Building Judicial Independence in Pakistan, Asia Report
N°86, 10 November 2004
Afghanistan: From Presidential to Parliamentary Elections,
Asia Report N°88, 23 November 2004
Nepal's Royal Coup: Making a Bad Situation Worse, Asia
Report N°91, 9 February 2005
Afghanistan: Getting Disarmament Back on Track, Asia
Briefing N°35, 23 February 2005
Nepal: Responding to the Royal Coup, Asia Briefing N°35,
24 February 2005
Indonesia: The Search for Peace in Maluku, Asia Report
N°31,8 February 2002
Aceh: Slim Chance for Peace, Indonesia Briefing, 27 March 2002
Myanmar: The Politics of Humanitarian Aid, Asia Report
N°32, 2 April 2002
Myanmar: The HIV/AIDS Crisis, Myanmar Briefing N°15, 2
April 2002
Indonesia: The Implications ofthe Timor Trials, Indonesia
Briefing N°16, 8 May 2002
Resuming U.S.-Indonesia Military Ties, Indonesia Briefing
NT8, 21 May 2002
Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia: The case of the "Ngruki
Network" in Indonesia, Indonesia Briefing N°20, 8 August
Indonesia: Resources and Conflict in Papua, Asia Report
N°39, 13 September 2002
Myanmar: The Future of the Armed Forces, Asia Briefing
N°21, 27 September 2002
Tensions on Flores: Local Symptoms of National Problems,
Indonesia Briefing N°22, 10 October 2002
Impact of the Bali Bombings, Indonesia Briefing N°23, 24
October 2002
Indonesia Backgrounder: How the Jemaah Islamiyah
Terrorist Network Operates, Asia Report N°43, 11 December
Aceh: A Fragile Peace, Asia Report N°47, 27 February 2003
(also available in Indonesian)
Dividing Papua: How Not to Do It, Asia Briefing N°24, 9
April 2003
Myanmar Backgrounder: Ethnic Minority Politics, Asia Report
N°52, 7 May 2003
Aceh: Why the Military Option Still Won't Work, Indonesia
Briefing N°26, 9 May 2003 (also available in Indonesian)
Indonesia: Managing Decentralisation and Conflict in
South Sulawesi, Asia Report N°60, 18 July 2003
Aceh: How Not to Win Hearts and Minds, Indonesia Briefing
N°27, 23 July 2003
Jemaah Islamiyah in South East Asia: Damaged but Still
Dangerous, Asia Report N°63, 26 August 2003
The Perils of Private Security in Indonesia: Guards and
Militias on Bali and Lombok, Asia Report N°67, 7 November
Indonesia Backgrounder: A Guide to the 2004 Elections, Asia
Report N°71, 18 December 2003
Indonesia Backgrounder: Jihad in Central Sulawesi, Asia
Report N°74, 3 February 2004
Myanmar: Sanctions, Engagement or Another Way Forward?,
Asia Report N°78, 26 April 2004
Indonesia: Violence Erupts Again in Ambon, Asia Briefing
N°32, 17 May 2004
Southern Philippines Backgrounder: Terrorism and the Peace
Process, Asia Report N°80,13 July 2004 (also available in Bahasa)
Myanmar: Aid to the Border Areas, Asia Report N°82, 9
September 2004
Indonesia Backgrounder: Why Salafism and Terrorism Mostly
Don't Mix, Asia Report N°83, 13 September 2004
Burma/Myanmar: Update on HIV/AIDS policy, Asia Briefing
N°34, 16 December 2004
Indonesia: Rethinking Internal Security Strategy, Asia Report
N°90, 20 December 2004
Recycling Militants in Indonesia: Darul Islam and the
Australian Embassy Bombing, Asia Report N°92, 22 February
For Crisis Group reports and briefing papers on:
Latin America and Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
Thematic Issues
please visit our website
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 26
Leslie H. Gelb
President Emeritus of Council on Foreign Relations, U.S.
Lord Patten of Barnes
Former European Commissioner for External Relations, UK
President & CEO
Gareth Evans
Former Foreign Minister of Australia
Executive Committee
Morton Abramowitz
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Turkey
Emma Bonino
Member of European Parliament; former European Commissioner
Cheryl Carolus
Former South African High Commissioner to the UK; former
Secretary General ofthe ANC
Maria Livanos Cattaui*
Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce
Yoichi Funabashi
Chief Diplomatic Correspondent & Columnist, The Asahi Shimbun,
William Shawcross
Journalist and author, UK
Stephen Solarz*
Former U.S. Congressman
George Soros
Chairman, Open Society Institute
William O. Taylor
Chairman Emeritus, The Boston Globe, U.S.
Adnan Abu-Odeh
Former Political Adviser to King Abdullah II and to King Hussein;
former Jordan Permanent Representative to UN
Kenneth Adelman
Former U.S. Ambassador and Director of the Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency
Ersin Arioglu
Member of Parliament, Turkey; Chairman Emeritus, Yapi Merkezi
Diego Arria
Former Ambassador of Venezuela to the UN
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Former U.S. National Security Advisor to the President
Victor Chu
Chairman, First Eastern Investment Group, Hong Kong
Wesley Clark
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Pat Cox
Former President of European Parliament
Ruth Dreifuss
Former President, Switzerland
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark
Mark Eyskens
Former Prime Minister of Belgium
Stanley Fischer
Vice Chairman, Citigroup Inc.; former First Deputy Managing
Director of International Monetary Fund
Bronislaw Geremek
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland
Former Prime Minister of India
Carla Hills
Former U.S. Secretary of Housing; former U.S. Trade Representative
Lena Hjelm-Wallen
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Sweden
James C.F. Huang
Deputy Secretary General to the President, Taiwan
Swanee Hunt
Chair of Inclusive Security: Women Waging Peace; former U.S.
Ambassador to Austria
Asma Jahangir
UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary
Executions; former Chair Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Senior Advisor, Modern Africa Fund Managers; former Liberian
Minister of Finance and Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for
Shiv Vikram Khemka
Founder and Executive Director (Russia) of SUN Group, India
James V. Kimsey
Founder and Chairman Emeritus of America Online, Inc. (AOL)
Bethuel Kiplagat
Former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya
Wim Kok
Former Prime Minister, Netherlands
Trifun Kostovski
Member of Parliament, Macedonia; founder ofKometal Trade Gmbh
Elliott F. Kulick
Chairman, Pegasus International, U.S.
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Novelist and journalist, U.S.
 Nepal: Dealing with a Human Rights Crisis
Crisis Group Asia Report N°94, 24 March 2005
Page 27
Todung Mulya Lubis
Human rights lawyer and author, Indonesia
Barbara McDougall
Former Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada
Ayo Obe
Chair of Steering Committee of World Movement for Democracy,
Christine Ockrent
Journalist and author, France
Friedbert Pfluger
Foreign Policy Spokesman ofthe CDU/CSUParliamentary Group
in the German Bundestag
Victor M Pinchuk
Member of Parliament, Ukraine; founder oflnterpipe Scientific and
Industrial Production Group
Surin Pitsuwan
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand
Itamar Rabinovich
President of Tel Aviv University; former Israeli Ambassador to the
U.S. and Chief Negotiator with Syria
Fidel V. Ramos
Former President ofthe Philippines
Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
Former Secretary General of NATO; former Defence Secretary, UK
Mohamed Sahnoun
Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Africa
Ghassan Salame
Former Minister Lebanon, Professor of International Relations, Paris
Salim A. Salim
Former Prime Minister of Tanzania; former Secretary General of
the Organisation of African Unity
Douglas Schoen
Founding Partner of Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, U.S.
Par Stenback
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finland
Thorvald Stoltenberg
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
Grigory Yavlinsky
Chairman ofYabloko Party and its Duma faction, Russia
Uta Zapf
Chairperson   of   the    German   Bundestag   Subcommittee    on
Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation
Ernesto Zedillo
Former President of Mexico; Director, Yale Center for the Study
of Globalization
Crisis Group's International Advisory Board comprises major individual and corporate donors who contribute their advice and
experience to Crisis Group on a regular basis.
Rita E. Hauser (Chair)
Marc Abramowitz
Anglo American PLC
John Chapman Chester
Peter Corcoran
Credit Suisse Group
John Ehara
Equinox Management Partners
JP Morgan Global Foreign
Exchange and Commodities
George Kellner
George Loening
Douglas Makepeace
Anna Luisa Ponti
Michael L. Riordan
Sarlo Foundation ofthe Jewish
Community Endowment Fund
Tilleke & Gibbins
International LTD
Baron Ullens
Stanley Weiss
Westfield Group
Yasuyo Yamazaki
Sunny Yoon
Crisis Group's Senior Advisers are former Board Members (not presently holding executive office) who maintain an association
with Crisis Group, and whose advice and support are called on from time to time.
Oscar Arias
Zainab Bangura
Christoph Bertram
Jorge Castaiieda
Eugene Chien
Gianfranco Dell'Alba
Alain Destexhe
Marika Fahlen
Malcolm Fraser
Max Jakobson
Mong Joon Chung
Allan J. MacEachen
Matt McHugh
George J. Mitchell
Mo Mowlam
Cyril Ramaphosa
Michel Rocard
Volker Ruehe
Simone Veil
Michael Sohlman
Leo Tindemans
Ed van Thijn
Shirley Williams
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