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UN asks Maoists to stop rights abuses

world Updated: Oct 16, 2007 15:01 IST

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Concerned over use of violence by Nepal Maoists, the United Nations has asked them "to stop acts of abduction, extortion and threats", and "respect full range of human rights".

In a meeing with Maoist chief Prachanda and senior leader Baburam Bhattarai on Monday, a top UN rights official expressed concern to the use of violence, intimidation and abduction carried out by the Maoist cadres.

The meeting between Richard Bennett, a representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Maoist leaders "focused on the importance of respect for the full range of human rights -- political, civil, social, economic, and cultural -- for the success of the peace process and for development in Nepal".

Bennett also raised concern on the abduction of journalist Birendra Sah, allegedly carried out by Maoist cadres, an official release said.

Besides, the representative expressed concern about acts of public humiliation and threats by Maoists, including those directed against so-called "criminals" or "corrupt" people, while noting alleged intimidation for "donations".

The Maoists were also asked to respect for the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

OHCHR had been monitoring the United Revolutionary People's Councils (URPC), the Maoist-run parallel government in parts of Nepal billed as "a mechanism to resolve people's problems and help provide justice to the people", the release said.

Maoist leader Bhattarai is the chairman of the URPC.

Prachanda, however, assured that the body will not function as a parallel authority and that the Maoists were committed to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).