SIGDEL, K. R. The KATHMANDU POST, JULY 16/17, 2010
Nepal’s participation in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions abroad seems to face a new trouble. The UN has rejected Nepal Army’s request to recognise its UN peacekeeping training centre at Paanchkhal, Kavre.
The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) took the decision to that effect on grounds of human rights violations in the past, including in the training centre, according to an official with the UN Headquarters in New York.
The Paanchkhall center is the only institution in Nepal authorised by UN to provide pre-mission trainings to NA soldiers. Though it had already received UN recognition, it applied for renewal of the same as per the new requirements outlined in the latest UN Peacekeeping PDT Standards, which asks each troop-contributing country “to receive a new official UN training recognition for their military and/or police Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) courses.”
However, NC Spokesman Ramindra Chhetri said, “NA had written to the UN regarding recognition of the Pre-Deployment Training, and not the training center. But we have not received any response yet.”
Sources told the Post that the decision follows the Army’s failure to address the impunity on the murder of a teenager Maina Sunuwar, who allegedly died due to torture in detention at the Paanchkhal training center.
“If this is what it is, the UN has given a strong message that it does not compromise on human rights issues,” said a defender based in Kathmandu. “Though it does not mean that Nepal is barred from joining peace missions, it will create problems, I guess.”
Earlier in December 2009, the DPKO had expelled Maj. Niranjan Basnet from a UN peacekeeping mission in Chad after confirming that he was accused in the Sunuwar murder case. The UN rights body in Nepal had urged the Army to hand over Basnet to the police as he had an arrest warrant from the Kavre District Court. NA has not done so yet.
According to UN rules, the DPKO takes such decisions only after making thorough “review” to find out whether the troop-contributing institution meets the latest UN PDT Standards.
The latest “standards” states that each request -- new or old -- shall be addressed through a process that involves six steps, including “desk review”, and “on-site course assessment”. The review, according to the latest UN Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines, takes human rights issues seriously.
It states that no personnel with tainted human rights records can join the peacekeeping missions and to ensure this the troop-contributing country -- NA in Nepal’s case -- is asked to do a human rights vetting of all Army personnel during the PDT.
Started since 1958, a total of 70,757 personnel have participated in 34 UN peace missions across the globe so far.
(The story originally appeared at http://www.ekantipur.com/2010/07/17/top-story/un-rejects-na-plea-to-okay-peacekeeping-training-centre/318652/)