Amnesty says Nepal needs its "truth" commission

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KATHMANDU, Nov 21 (Reuters) Nepal risks a return to political violence unless the government honours its promise to create ''truth commissions'' to help heal the scars of a decade-long civil war, Amnesty International said.

The peace pact signed a year ago between the government and Maoist rebels envisaged setting up a South Africa-type truth and reconciliation commission to tackle rights abuses and the cases of people missing during a war that killed about 13,000 people.

One year on, no such step has yet been taken.

''Without delivering on the promises of justice, security and inclusion, there is a real danger of Nepal's recent tragic history repeating itself,'' London-based Amnesty said in a statement e-mailed late yesterday.

Human rights groups accuse the army and the Maoists of committing abuses such as killings, arbitrary arrests, rape, torture amd kidnappings during the war.

Under the peace agreement, the former guerrillas joined the political mainstream in a provisional parliament.

But a row over their demand for an immediate end of the monarchy saw them quit the interim government in September and force an indefinite postponement of the constituent assembly elections earlier set for November.

''The 'peace' which Nepal has so far achieved is temporary, incomplete and extremely precarious,'' Amnesty said, adding that Nepalis were ''hungry for justice'' after the brutal war.

Amnesty urged the government and the Maoists to immediately provide information about the hundreds of missing people to their families as promised in the peace deal.

Dozens of people have died since the peace deal in violent protests by ethnic Madhesi community in Nepal's southern plains and other marginalised groups demanding greater representation in the parliament and an end to centuries of discrimination.

The government had no immediate comment on the report.

The Nepali rights group, Insec, said the government and the Maoists had both failed to live up to their peace deal promises.

At least 234 people had been killed and 772 cases of abductions recorded in continued violence since the deal was sealed, the group said.

The state was responsible for 28 deaths, the Maoists killed 22 people and the rest were killed in ethnic clashes or by several rebel groups, Insec said in a statement.

REUTERS RJ RK1755

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