Thursday, February 02, 2006

Nepal


"The European Union continues to be deeply concerned over the situation in Nepal, where political forces seem to be moving towards an ever more severe confrontation and polarization thus increasing the risk of deepening the political crisis. The European Union gives its full support to the moderate voices in Nepal working towards the goal of a sustainable peace based on the principles of a civilian, accountable and democratic government. The EU strongly condemns the use of force to surpress the Nepalese people's exercise of fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. The EU finds that the Government's extensive restrictions on the Nepalese society, political parties and civil society over the last week are disproportionate and do not comply with Nepal's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The EU calls upon the King, the Government of Nepal and the Security Forces to immediately restore all political and civil liberties in accordance with Nepal's international obligations, immediately release all political prisoners and human rights defenders, and ensure that political and civil rights, including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, can be exercised peacefully. The EU strongly condemns the resumption of Maoist violence, including the recent murder of an election candidate. The EU deeply regrets the government's failure to seize the opportunity provided by the Maoists' unilateral cease-fire to declare a truce. The EU underlines the obligation of all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law, including by way of protecting civilians and facilitating the access of humanitarian organisations seeking to aid affected persons. The EU reiterates that what Nepal and its people urgently need is a cessation of armed hostilities as a first step in an inclusive and comprehensive peace process. The European Union underlines its stand on elections. For the elections to be meaningful it is crucial that they be held in direct consultation with the political parties as part of an exercise to establish a full return to democracy. The fact that no such consultation has taken place means that the planned municipal elections will be another step backwards for democracy and are likely to further polarize positions".

Declaration adopted by the Austrian Presidency, on behalf of the EU, on 29 January, on the way the situation is deteriorating in Nepal.