Nepal's king has invited the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor human rights violations in the Himalayan kingdom.

U.N. officials signed the agreement Monday and say they have already taken steps to ensure the early start-up of operations.

The monitors will set up regional field offices in Nepal.  They will seek the cooperation of both the security forces and the Maoist rebels to ensure that they observe human rights and international laws.

King Gyanendra has been under increasing pressure from several countries, institutions and human rights groups to accept outside monitors. 

Maoist rebels have been fighting to overthrow the monarchy since 1996.  Both sides in the conflict have been widely criticized for abuses. 

Some information for this report provided by AFP.