Nepal: UN human rights official voices concern about promotion of army officer

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A top United Nations official in Nepal today expressed serious reservations over the controversial promotion of a military General with ties to breaches of human rights to be second-in-command in Nepal's army.

The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal), noted widespread oppostion to Major General Toran Jung Bahadur Singh taking the step up to Lieutenant General.

OHCHR issued a report in 2006 on its investigation into torture, arbitrary detention and disappearances carried out at Maharajgunj Barracks, which was under the control of a battalion led by Maj.-Gen. Singh in 2003-04 during the conflict between Government forces and Maoists.

The report concluded that Maj.-Gen. Singh "knew or ought to have known about these actions," and recommended the suspension from official duties of those potentially connected to the human rights abuses, either directly or indirectly through command, pending the investigation.

"Those implicated in human rights violations committed by members of the 10th Brigade in 2003 and in 2004, when General Singh was in command, should not be promoted pending completion of a full, transparent and impartial investigation," said Representative of OHCHR-Nepal Richard Bennett.

"This would enhance, not diminish, the prestige of the Nepal Army at home and abroad," added Mr. Bennett.