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'World must check abuses by army, Maoists in Nepal'

Written by: Staff

New York, Mar 28: The Human Rights watch commended India, the US, and Britain for continuing a ban on the transfer of weapons and ammunition to Nepal and called on China, Pakistan and Israel, to join the arms embargo.

The world community must try to prevent the conflict from getting out of hand and step-up international pressure to protect civilians caught in the armed conflict between Maoists and government forces in Nepal, the Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The New York-based rights body urged key international players such as India, the United States, Britain, the European Union, China and the United Nations to put more pressure on both sides to observe the laws of war and international human rights standards.

While many in the international community have focused on political developments between King Gyanendra, political parties and the Maoists, too little attention is shown on the conflict and the resulting rights abuses, the release said.

The 17-page report, ''Nepal's Civil War: The Conflict Resumes,'' summarises the findings of Human Rights Watch's recent three-week research effort in Nepal. The trip -- Human Rights Watch's fifth in the last two years -- assessed the situation in Nepal after January 2, when Maoist forces ended their four-month unilateral ceasefire, which the government had spurned.

Since then, Maoist attacks and clashes with security forces have engulfed the country, affecting nearly all the 75 administrative areas of Nepal. Civilian casualties, which decreased significantly during the ceasefire, have worsened, the report said.

''Renewed fighting has brought renewed abuses,'' Sam Zarifi, Research Director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division said, adding, ''The failure of both sides to ensure the safety of civilians has left too many Nepalis living in fear that the conflict is going to burst through their doors.''


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