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India expresses concern over lack of political progress in Nepal

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New Delhi/Geneva: India has expressed concern over the lack of political progress in Nepal but promised to continue to extend all assistance to the Himalayan nation for its peace, stability and socioeconomic development.

India made the statement at the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), part of the Interactive Dialogue at the 23rd Session of the UPR Working Group at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva on Wednesday.

Welcoming the delegation from Nepal led by Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, India in its statement said the people of the South Asian nation, after having endured a devastating earthquake in April this year, were facing another tough challenge during the ongoing political transition.

“Violence and instability in parts of Nepal have worsened in the run-up to and after the adoption of Nepal’s constitution in September 2015,” the Indian statement said.

“Over 45 persons died, mostly civilians, and hundreds injured. Firings, which ceased just after the adoption of the constitution (of Nepal), have reoccurred. We are concerned over the lack of political progress.”

The UPR is a unique mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 UN member states.

Under this mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN member states is reviewed every four-and-half-years. Forty two states are reviewed each year during three Working Group sessions dedicated to 14 states each. These three sessions are usually held in January-February, May-June and October-November.

“We note the concerns expressed by UN human rights bodies, UN country team and Nepal’s own human rights commission over continuing incidents of violence, extra-judicial killings, and ethnic discrimination in the country,” the Indian statement said.

“We urge the government of Nepal to investigate and take credible measures to prevent their recurrence. The problems facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved through force or a security-based approach.

India said, as a close and friendly neighbor, it has consistently appealed to the Nepal government to address all challenges in a spirit of dialogue and reconciliation.

Referring to Thapa’s statement that Nepal was currently in a very delicate situation resulting from the obstruction of essential supplies at the border points with India, New Delhi stated: “Obstruction referred in the honorable minister’s statement is on the Nepalese side caused by Nepalese protesters.”

The Indian statement said, “with deep rooted historic and cultural ties, will continue to extend all assistance to Nepal for peace, stability and socioeconomic development of the country”.

(IANS)

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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)