UNMIN Refuses to Help Nepal Government Tracks Discharged PLA Soldiers
Posted by Ka Frank on February 24, 2010
This article appeared in My Republica on February 18, 2010.
In the article the government expresses concern that as much as 40% of the PLA soldiers are operating out of the cantonments where they have been stationed since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2006.
UNMIN refuses govt info on discharged combatants
KATHMANDU: United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has refused to give details about former disqualified Maoist combatants who were discharge recently, questioning the use of such information.
Chief of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) Karin Landgren conveyed her office´s reluctance to share the information with the government during her meeting with Chief Secretary Madhav Ghimire on Tuesday, said the Prime Minister´s Press Advisor, Bishnu Rijal.
“She told the Chief Secretary that her office will not give the government details of the discharged disqualified combatants, questioning the use of such information,” Rijal told myrepublica.com about the Chief Secretary´s meeting with Landgren. “She questioned the use of such information to the government.”
The government has been seeking the information – real names, home addresses of the discharged disqualified combatants and where they went after their release — for record-keeping purposes and to monitor whether they have reached their homes following their discharge from the cantonments. The month-long discharge process was completed on February 8.
Moreover, the government is suspicious that the discharged combatants may have been forced to join the Young Communist League and may not have reached their respective homes. It wants to check whether they reached their homes.
“The whole discharge of the disqualified Maoist army personnel and issues related to their rehabilitation is looked after by UNICEF and UNDP. UNMIN does not have the mandate to deal with the issues,” said Kosmos Biswokarma, spokesperson of UNMIN. But the government believes that UNMIN as the UN mission monitoring the peace process, and not any other UN agency, should share the information about discharged former combatants.
The UN political mission´s refusal to disclose details of the discharged combatants with the government comes a day after the Peace Ministry wrote a second letter to UNMIN for information on discharged combatants. The ministry sent the letter Monday after its earlier letter was ignored.
The government has been pressing UNMIN in recent days for the figures and details about both verified and disqualified Maoist combatants as it came to know that around 40 percent of disqualified combatants were not in the cantonments during the discharge process.
The government believes that all 19,602 Maoist combatants may not be in the cantonments monitored by UNMIN much in the way the disqualified were not. But UNMIN, in a statement on Tuesday, said that “it is the responsibility of both parties to provide it with accurate figures of the number of personnel under command”.
Only 60 percent PLA in cantonments
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Tuesday held a meeting with government officials posted at different cantonments to take first hand information on whether all the combatants are living in those cantonments. According to Nepal´s Press Advisor Rijal, the officials reported to the Prime Minister that they believe 40 percent of the combatants are out of the cantonments at present.
The government held the meeting amidst the ruling parties´ doubts that all the combatants are currently living in the cantonments monitored by UNMIN. But UNMIN in a statement Tuesday said neither the Maoists nor the state army have replied to its letter sent last October requesting updated figures on their actual strength.