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Nepal Asks International Community To Support State of Emergency


Nepal's Foreign Minister has appealed to the international community to understand and support the King's decision to declare a State of Emergency. The Minister told delegates attending the U.N. Human Rights Commission that the declaration was a necessary response to the Maoist insurgency.

Nepal's Foreign Minister, Ramesh Nath Pandey, says the royal decision to declare a State of Emergency on February 1 was a measure of last resort. He says the King made this difficult decision in order to rescue the nation from political instability and unmitigated terrorism.

"His majesty the king, as a symbol of national unity and custodian of the conscience of the kingdom of Nepal ... had a constitutional duty and obligations to stop this downward spiral of the country and to restore security, stability in the ultimate interest of the nation," said Ramesh Nath Pandey.

Mr. Pandey says terrorist violence by the Maoist rebels has taken a heavy toll. He says during the past nine years, more than 11,000 people have lost their lives, thousands of people have been made homeless, many women have been widowed and the nation lives in fear.

"It is therefore that the State of Emergency has been imposed ... as a dire necessity," he said. "It is of temporary nature and as such it is being continuously relaxed."

The Nepalese foreign minister says his country is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and believes in the rule of law and democracy. He says his government supports the independent human-rights commission that operates in his country.

He recalls the visit to Nepal by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour on January 23. He says during this visit, she gained a first-hand understanding and deep appreciation of the difficult situation Nepal has with the insurgency.

What he did not say is Ms. Arbour quickly condemned the state of emergency in Nepal and sent a letter to the King telling him that basic human rights cannot be suspended under any circumstances.

Human-rights organizations say they will push for a strong Human Rights Commission resolution condemning Nepal for gross violations of human rights, including arbitrary arrests and detention. Amnesty International calls Nepal a country on the verge of a human rights catastrophe.

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