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Published:January 10th, 2007 11:51 EST
Ban Ki-Moon Proposes New UN Political Mission to Monitor Nepal's Peace Accord

Ban Ki-Moon Proposes New UN Political Mission to Monitor Nepal's Peace Accord

By SOP newswire

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling for a small new United Nations political mission in Nepal, comprising unarmed military inspectors, electoral experts, and police and civil administration teams, to monitor the recent peace accord between the Government and Maoist rebels that ended a deadly decade-long war.

“While Nepal has made remarkable progress towards peace, the magnitude of the tasks ahead and the potential threats to the peace process must not be underestimated,” Mr. Ban says in a <"">report to the Security Council of the proposed UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which has been requested by both parties to a conflict that killed over 13,000 people, displaced scores of thousands more, and left between 1,000 and 5,000 ‘disappeared.’

He recommends that UNMIN be established for a period of 12 months – a period which extends beyond when results of the 2007 Constituent Assembly election are carried out. The mission will deploy up to 186 unarmed active and former military officers to monitor Maoist cantonments and Army barracks as required by the ceasefire signed in November.

As requested by the parties, a small team of expert monitors will also be deployed to review all technical aspects of the electoral process for an assembly to decide on the constitutional future of the country. “The timely, free and fair conduct of the Constituent Assembly election is central to the sustainability of the peace process,” Mr. Ban warns.

The mission will establish a small UN police advisory team comprising senior police advisers at national and regional levels to help ensure “critical” security during voter registration, campaigning and polling, according to the report.

To reinforce the monitoring of the management of arms and armies, electoral assistance and human rights compliance, UNMIN will have a civil affairs component including officers deployed to the regions. Mr. Ban notes that both sides committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, with many civilians targeted or caught up in indiscriminate violence.

An outreach unit will be set up to explain the work and mandate of the mission to the public, since “the support of the diverse population of Nepal is vital for the success of the peace process,” Mr. Ban writes.

He warns that debate over the country’s political future could swiftly exacerbate ethnic, regional, linguistic tensions. If Nepal fails to meaningfully include traditionally marginalized groups such as women in the peace process, election and Assembly deliberations, the country will lose a crucial opportunity to harness the strength and vision of its own people, he adds.

“The significant political process that Nepal has set in motion represents a crucial opportunity for the country to reshape its structures and institutions to reflect the capacities and meet the aspirations of all its peoples,” he concludes. “The greatest challenge in the months ahead may be to ensure that Nepal’s remarkable diversity becomes an abiding strength rather than a source of division.”

At the beginning of December, the Security Council expressed support for speedy UN assistance to Nepal, backing plans to send an initial assessment team and an advance group of up to 60 to monitor the managements of arms and give electoral advice.

Source UN