News in brief

Nepal crisis

There was, rightly, considerable international concern when one of Nepal’s best-known dissidents, journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, was arrested on questionable grounds by an anti-corruption body on 22 April. (Dixit was released 10 days later by the supreme court.)

There was less concern globally at the wave of arrests earlier in the year of Madhesi organisers, or at the lack of action over the deaths of 44 protesters and bystanders shot dead by security forces during the six-month-long protests in the Madesh/Terai.

On the bigger issue of impunity for war crimes committed during the decade-long civil war, human rights groups have condemned the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (UML) for agreeing with the Maoist opposition the withdrawal of all civil war cases, granting amnesty even for murder and rape.

In May, two former army chiefs were accused of authorising civil war crimes including the shooting dead of 12-year-old Rupa Chaudhary in front of her parents, on 21 July 2002, for allegedly cooking food for Maoist insurgents.