Nepal's Young Communist League has rejected a report from the United Nations accusing it of human rights violations. The group's leader says it is working to eliminate corruption and crime that the police have failed to tackle. Liam Cochrane reports from Kathmandu.
The Young Communist League, or YCL, claims to have 325,000 members. Its activities range from cleaning up the streets and planting tress to abducting people it suspects of criminal acts or corruption.
But recently, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal investigated dozens of abductions, which sometimes included beatings and forcing people to hand over money or land. It says the YCL has violated human rights in many cases.
The leader of the YCL in Kathmandu, who goes by the alias Sagar, disagrees with the U.N. over what constitutes a human rights violation.
Sagar says that Nepal's population remains oppressed by corruption and crime, and that the YCL is working to bring criminals to what he describes as a "people's justice."
He also accuses rights agencies such as the U.N.'s human rights office of supporting the allegedly corrupt people the YCL targets.
While U.N. officials acknowledge that the police have been unable to establish order in Nepal since the end of the civil war last year, they say rights must be protected.
"We would still argue that whatever is done has to be within the law and within human rights principles and what we have seen is in clear violation of those principles," said Sandra Beidas, the protection officer at the U.N. office for human rights.
The U.N. also has investigated reports of the YCL disrupting political gatherings in western Nepal.
Beidas says any group that interferes with people's right to assemble is a threat to the coming Constituent Assembly elections. She says, however, that other militant groups in the southern districts also are causing problems and are hurting stability.
In November, Nepal voters will elect a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution and decide whether to keep the monarchy.
The YCL's Sagar says his organization is committed to ensuring a free and fair election and will make sure those with "money and muscle" do not manipulate the vote.
Sagar says that if the Constituent Assembly election is postponed again the YCL will launch a peaceful protest but if that fails the group will resort to violence.
Nepal's decade-long civil war ended last year with a peace deal between the rebel Maoists and mainstream political parties.
The United Nations has set up a special mission in Nepal to monitor the Maoist army and their weapons, and to assist with elections.