Expect Ups and Downs in Any Peace Process: Martin
The first stage of registering Maoist combatants and their weapons is complete, says IAN MARTIN, personal Nepal representative of UN Secretary General.
Ian Marin's press release (see below) discloses that by Februay 17, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNIM) had registered 30,852 Maoist combatants and 3,428 weapons (mostly primitive types).
He made this clear: "UNMIN is not and will not be in a position to state whether the weapons it has registered correspond to the full total of weapons held by the Maoist army."
Martin expressed concern over general conditions in the camps and the Maoists' leaving those camps this week purpotedly in search of work.
Post-publication updated link >> Click here to watch Ian Martin's press briefing (from Minute 39:52 to 44:19) at the United Nations, New York City, on Monday, February 26.
Press statement by Ian Martin, Personal Personal Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal
The United Nations Mission in Nepal completed the first stage of registration of combatants and weapons at the Maoist army cantonment sites on 17 February. I will focus today on explaining the outcome of this process, as well as the next steps to be taken. I will also provide an update on other activities of UNMIN in fulfillment of its mandate, in particular assistance to the Election Commission in the preparation for the Constituent Assembly election.
Reports have been made to senior representatives of the parties and to the Joint Monitoring Coordinating Committee (JMCC) at three stages of the registration process of combatants and weapons, giving the numbers of combatants and the number and types of weapons registered at each stage. UNMIN delivered a further report yesterday to the parties, much of which I am now making public.
The registration of Maoist weapons has not however been completed. The Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (4.1.2) provides that “Security provisions will be made for CPN(M) leaders through understanding with the Government.” UNMIN has urged the parties to reach such an understanding, which is under negotiation but has not yet been concluded. UNMIN has to date registered some but not all of the weapons so far retained outside cantonment sites by the CPN(M) for personal security of leaders; arrangements have been made for registration to continue today.
The total number of Maoist army combatants registered at the seven main cantonment sites, including those from the associated satellite cantonment sites, is 30,852. UNMIN is in the process of registering members of the Maoist army currently engaged in leadership security arrangements or undergoing medical treatment outside the cantonment sites. Brief details of each combatant have been recorded at the first stage of registration, but have not been verified; each has been photographed and issued with an identity card with a UN bar code. Detailed information will be collected through individual interviews at the second stage of registration. The full modalities of the second stage process are under discussion in the JMCC, and it is expected to begin by mid-March. In view of persistent concerns that minors and persons recruited after the Ceasefire Code of Conduct continue to be associated with the Maoist army, particular efforts will be made to ensure full respect of the requirements of the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (4.1.3) that any combatant found to be born after 25 May 1988 will be honourably and automatically discharged, and that only those individuals who were members of the Maoist army before 25 May 2006 are eligible for cantonment.
The total number of weapons registered so far is 3,428. The types of weapons are: 91 mortars (of which 55 are locally-made); 61 machine guns; 2,403 rifles; 61 automatic weapons (sub-machine guns); 114 side-arms; 212 shotguns; 253 various/miscellaneous; and 233 home-made weapons. This includes 524 weapons retained for perimeter security by designated guards, in accordance with the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (4.1.2), and 49 of the weapons are so far retained away from the cantonments, pending an understanding with the Government on arrangements for personal security of leaders.
UNMIN is not and will not be in a position to state whether the weapons it has registered correspond to the full total of weapons held by the Maoist army. The Nepal Army has made available to UNMIN a breakdown by types of 3,430 weapons which it states were taken from the Nepal Army, the Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force. There is a high degree of correspondence between the types of weapons listed by the NA and the types of weapons registered. The JMCC has agreed to compare these listings and report its conclusions to the parties. UNMIN is not in a position to confirm or refute reports of weapons purchases by or on behalf of the CPN(M), although the weapons registered include a number of weapons not held in the stocks of the state security forces, such as AK-47s. Any allegation or report that weapons continue to be held by the CPN(M) in breach of the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies will be investigated by UN arms monitors, including through Joint Monitoring Teams comprised of one UN monitor serving as team leader, one monitor from the Nepal Army and one monitor from the Maoist army.
The weapons and ammunition stored at the seven Maoist army main cantonment sites are locked in storage containers furnished with shelves for safe weapons storage and easy control, with a complete inventory. As provided in the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (4.1.2), a single lock provided by UNMIN secures each storage container, the key to which is held by the designated main cantonment site commander. UN monitors carry out inspections of the arms storage area and containers in the presence of a Maoist army representative. UN arms monitors and members of the Interim Task Force are living at each of the seven sites in close proximity to the weapons containers, which are under 24-hour surveillance.
The Government has not yet made arrangements to put in place at all seven sites the solid fence surrounding the weapons storage area, including a gate with a lock and with signs on the fence clearly identifying the restricted area. UNMIN has installed a 24-hour surveillance camera, floodlights, an inspection registration device, and an alarm system connected to sirens at the 3rd cantonment site (Chitwan), and will proceed to install these systems at the other six sites as soon as possible.
The Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (4.2.3) provides that the Nepal Army will store arms in equal numbers to those of the Maoist army under equivalent monitoring arrangements. Through the JMCC, the Nepal Army is studying the details reported on Maoist army weapons stored, in order to propose equivalent weapons types for storage. Any allegation or report that weapons are used by the Nepal Army in breach of the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies will be investigated by UN arms monitors, including through Joint Monitoring Teams comprised of one UN monitor serving as team leader, one monitor from the Nepal Army and one monitor from the Maoist army.
The determination as to whether the registration, storage and monitoring are sufficient to allow for the entry of the CPN(M) into an Interim Government is a decision to be made by Nepal’s political leadership. UNMIN will continue to provide objective reports to the parties to assist this consideration.
In recent days, some registered Maoist army combatants have left or threatened to leave cantonment sites, and their commanders have stated that this is in order to secure work and lodging. Although weapons storage and perimeter security arrangements at the cantonments have remained in place, this development is of grave concern: such departures are a clear breach of the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies and have been reported to the JMCC. UNMIN has expressed its concern about conditions at the cantonment sites and urges both parties to cooperate over urgent measures to improve conditions. The United Nations stands ready to assist as may be requested.
I am pleased to be able to inform you that other UNMIN activities in support of the peace process are progressing well. UNMIN now has a total of 70 arms monitors in country. Twenty-two electoral advisors are now in the country. They are engaged in a range of activities to support the Election Commission, including the provision of technical advice regarding options for electoral systems, technical assistance in planning voter education, and assistance with coordination of donor support to the Commission.
Two of the UNMIN helicopters are now operational, and with the delivery of vehicles by the Government of India which I have just formally accepted from Ambassador Mukherjee and the Government of Nepal, the logistical support of our operations are greatly enhanced. This is especially important, as UNMIN must be as mobile as possible to reach the regions and districts of Nepal.
Before closing, I would like to briefly reflect on the current challenges faced by the parties to the peace process, and by the Nepalese people. I have said on a number of occasions that any peace process is likely to involve ups and downs, and that the parties to any peace process can expect to face difficult challenges. We see this in Nepal today, with the developments this week in relation to the Maoist combatants and the conditions in the cantonments, and with the great challenge to address the concerns of the diverse groups among the Nepalese people to ensure that they can participate fully in this transition. It is essential that the parties to the process fulfill their commitments at every stage; it is also essential that all Nepalese people are able to participate in this process, and that they do so through peaceful means. Dialogue and inclusion are essential tools to achieve a successful peace process, in which differences can be peacefully worked through to reach agreements. There will be difficulties, but with goodwill and commitment they can be worked through. UNMIN is here to provide the support of the United Nations to this Nepalese peace process, and once again I pledge our best efforts to this end.
To read the original document, click here.
Posted by Editor on February 23, 2007 9:48 PM