Kathmandu : European diplomats have urged Nepal to extend the terms of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), media reports said Thursday.
The call came during a meeting between Nepal’s Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala and diplomats from the European Union (EU) countries based in Kathmandu Wednesday, Nepal Samacharpatra newspaper reported.
The newspaper quoted unnamed sources at the foreign ministry as saying the diplomats had urged Koirala to extend the terms of both UN agencies, citing growing incidents of human rights violations and challenges to the country’s peace process.
In reply, the newspaper quoted Koirala as saying the decision on the extension of terms would be made when the cabinet was expanded to include all parties in the new coalition government.
The foreign minister has met ambassadors from Germany, Denmark, Finland and Britain.
The term of UNMIN will expire July 23 and media reports say the government has indicated it will extend the term.
However, there are conflicting signals over the extension of the terms of OHCHR-Nepal.
Its mandate expired June 10 but was extended on a temporary basis, OHCHR-Nepal representative Richard Bennett told the newspaper.
“It is our understanding that the extension of OHCHR’s term sometime ago is only a temporary measure,” Bennett said.
In April, the UN high commissioner for human rights Navanethem Pillay, during her visit to the country, said her office was seeking an extension of term for another three years.
OHCHR-Nepal was established in 2005 during the peak of Maoist insurgency amid accusations of growing human rights violations by both government and rebel forces.
The UN office has been critical of the government for failing to prosecute serious human rights violations.
The UNMIN, on the other hand, is a political mission with the mandate to oversee the peace process. It was established in Nepal soon after the Maoists signed a peace deal with the government to end a decade long insurgency in November 2006.
In recent months, UNMIN too has come under increasing criticism from political parties in the verification of Maoist ex-combatants.