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News ::
Nepal: Bush Supports Human Rights Violations
11 May 2002
Modified: 08:08:48 PM
NO US AID TO THE KING OF NEPAL!
Nepal: As Human Rights Violations Mount, Bush Asks Congress For $30 Million in Military Aid

By STEVE ARGUE
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with an average yearly income $220 dollars a year and an estimated 40% of the people living below the poverty level. It is also the home of a popular socialist (Maoist) uprising that controls one quarter of the countryside. In those areas controlled by revolutionaries tremendous advances have been made in education, clean drinking water, women's rights, and land reform.
In November King Gyanendra ordered a state of emergency and suspended the Nepalese constitution. This was an official suspension of many rights that already were often violated. With the King's declaration he suspended the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of movement, freedom of press, the right to privacy, and freedom from preventative detention.
Thirty Nepalese journalists are currently being held without charge and another seventy were previously arrested under the measures of the state of emergency. Obviously King Gyanendra fears the press's scrutiny of his actions.
Nearly 2,000 people have been killed since the state of emergency was declared. . Maja Daruwala, director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative says, "Extrajudicial killings have become too commonplace, and they are backed by assurances of impunity, an assured lack of scrutiny when the press is muzzled…"
Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation of government killings stating: "Since the start of the "people's war", there has been increasing concern that the authorities have failed to impose strict limitations on the use of force and firearms by the security forces or to take appropriate actions against abuses. This concern has heightened after the army was called out and the state of emergency imposed in late November 2001. Since then, the number of alleged unlawful killings have increased dramatically. The reported incidents have included killings of civilians in reprisal for the killing of police and army personnel by members of the CPN (Maoist); killings of armed members of the CPN (Maoist) in circumstances where they could have been taken into custody or where they already had been taken prisoner, and the avoidable use of lethal force."
In addition Amnesty International States: "Political detainees are being tortured and unarmed civilians extrajudicially executed within the context of the government security forces' response to a Maoist "people's war", waged by armed members of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), (CPN (Maoist))."
Ignoring human rights and supporting King Gyanandra in his war measures against both rebels and civilians Bush has asked congress for $30 million in military aid to Nepal. US military officials have also suggested that Nepal needs to increase the strength of its army to 200,000 from its current level of 40,000.
These moves towards supporting the repressive government of Nepal coincide with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Nepal where he made it clear that the U.S. supports the Nepalese government and its fight against the Maoist rebels. Powell and the corporate media made a point of calling the Maoists in Nepal "terrorists" putting U.S. aid to the King of Nepal within the context of Bush's so called war on terrorism. Meanwhile Powell covered up the fact that since the government of Nepal declared a "state of emergency" the Royal Nepalese Army has been carrying out a murderous "search and destroy" campaign in the countryside, killing, torturing and arresting hundreds of guerrillas and civilians accused of being Maoist sympathizers.
Popular support for the Maoist insurgency is strong both among the working class and among the peasantry. One indication of this popular support is the ability of rebels to call successful general strikes where the working class has shut down major cities simply by not going to work. In these strikes workers stay home and hold no demonstrations out of fear of government repression.
In the countryside, where a quarter of the country is controlled by revolutionaries, peasants form armed militias to defend themselves from the army and the police. Other peasants join the revolutionary army where they take the offensive attacking the police and army. These actions have included many successful attacks on police stations. With these operations the revolutionary movement has destroyed the ability of government forces to carry out their repressive actions in many parts of the country.
The BBC has documented some of the popular support for the revolution as well. A couple recent interviews in areas controlled by the Maoists included Sinal, a schoolteacher, who says, "In this place, when I came here, there was no drinking water. The Maoists have provided drinking water. If they see a problem they will do something for the people."
Another BBC quote was from Monomai who said, "The Maoists are the only ones helping women, "They give us more rights, and education - the government does nothing for us. If the enemy ever comes here, we women will fight them just as our men do."
In areas controlled by the King almost 80% of women cannot read or write. This is one of the highest female illiteracy rates in the world. In liberated zones this problem is being changed through the Maoist's commitment to education.
Under feudal tradition and patriarchy women are subjected to a life of servitude to fathers, husbands and sons. In rebel controlled zones household tasks are being shared between men and women. Women are also taking on leadership roles in the popular revolutionary government.
Under the feudal tradition women do not have the right to inherit land, but in revolutionary controlled zones women do have the right to land and they have gained access to it through the land reform policies of the revolution.
The revolution is also smashing feudal traditions of arranged marriages by parents where children have no say in whom they will marry. Under this tradition very young girls are sometimes forced into marriage even before they are teenagers. In addition widows are not allowed to remarry and are expected to spend their entire life in mourning.
Divorce is also now allowed in rebel controlled zones. Under the King divorce is not allowed.
The revolution is also combating the selling of women and girls into prostitution. Under the King tens of thousands of women are sold for the price of a water buffalo and sent to India where are dieing in large numbers from AIDS and abuse.
While the poor support the insurrection wealthy landowners, moneylenders, and corrupt politicians do not. In rebel controlled zones land is redistributed to the poor under the slogan of "land to the tiller", "debts" to wealthy moneylenders cancelled, and taxes are collected from the wealthy for projects to benefit the people.
While the likes of Powell call the Maoist insurrection of Nepal terrorism, socialists call it a legitimate struggle for the liberation of the people of Nepal. Those on the left who want to draw equal signs between the revolutionary actions of the Maoist insurgency and the repression carried out by the King's forces are making a terrible mistake. While Liberation News fights for a more democratic form of socialism than that produced by Mao Tse Tung thought, we also understand that the socialist model, even in a deformed state, is superior to the sexism, hunger, illiteracy and disease of capitalism and feudalism. With this understanding we uncompromisingly state that it would be a mistake to stay neutral or silent in the face of escalating U.S. intervention in Nepal.
NO TO U.S. MILITARY AID TO THE KING OF NEPAL! End U.S. imperialism through socialist revolution in the United States!


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Another angle -- oil
11 May 2002
The US recently announced support for the government of Nepal in this, the 7th year of conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the government. Both the CPN(M) and the government of Nepal have been condemned by human rights groups including Amnesty International. The state of Nepal has been condemned for continuously carrying out "summary executions" and recent reports in the Christian Science Monitor and The Globe and Mail have described such "death squad" tactics. Yet last week, the Bush administration declared full support for the government of Nepal.

Oil interests have recently come to light in Nepal, and James Baker recently went to Delhi in this connection, indicating an ulterior motive on the part of the US state.

There is an estimated 9 billion m3 of natural gas in the Nepalganj area in Nepal. The US-based corporation "Texana" was awarded joint exploration rights in 1998. In April 2002, James Baker went to Delhi on a shrouded agenda including Nepali oil.

Shortly after the suspicious murder of King Birendra last Summer, with the rise of King Gyanendra, the Nepali state set its Army on the CPN(M) and declared them "terrorists". After declaring a "state of emergency", the Nepali state has heavily cracked down on freedom of the press, more than its previous very poor record on this, and began arresting anyone suspected of connection to the CPN(M). In general, the country is operating in a fascist atmosphere of repression.

In light of Baker's recent visit to Nepal on behalf of "Texana", and what is known about the Bush administrations strong and numerous connections to the oil industry, what might be the influence of these interests on US policy in Nepal? Might these interests being hampering achievement of a true and just peace? Without adequate information, observers can only wonder.

For more information, visit the Nepal Solidarity Network website: http://vm.uconn.edu/~ser00003/ns.html
See also:
http://vm.uconn.edu/~ser00003/ns.html