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Nepal: ICRC operations continue amidst hostilities

31-08-2004 Operational Update

Following the breakdown of the ceasefire in August 2003, the conflict between Nepalese government forces and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist has continued with the civilian population trapped between the belligerent parties.

The following is an overview of the ICRC's activities in Nepal between January and August 2004.

 
Protection 
 

The ICRC continued to visit those detained in relation to the conflict in district prisons, police stations and military barracks. Delegates held private interviews with detainees and discussed the findings in a confidential manner with the authorities concerned. The ICRC's medical team participated in a number of visits to evaluate detainees'state of health. The ICRC also visits those held by the Maoists.

  • 445 visits to 263 detention places were carried out and 962 people detained in relation to the conflict were registered

The ICRC also acted as a neutral intermediary in handing over released detainees held by the CPN-M to the government of Nepal.

  • A total of 76 detainees were handed over to the government of Nepal on two separate occasions

In cooperation with the Nepalese Red Cross Society the ICRC maintains contact between detainees and their families

  • 1,442 Red Cross messages were exchanged containing family and personal news

ICRC delegates also look into the situation of the affected civilian population and collect information on alleged violations of international humanitarian law by both parties to the conflict and monitor and follow up this information.

 
Assistance 
 

 Medical  

The medical activities of the ICRC are aimed at enhancing the access of wounded combatants and civilians to treatment. To this end, the ICRC is cooperating with strategically located medical structures like TU Teaching Hospital and Bheri Zonal Hospital.

  • 23 amputees were fitted with artificial limbs in cooperation with the Green Pasture Hospital and the NRCS

  • 63 victims, undergoing treatment in various public hospitals, received financial support for their transportation.

  • 13 patients undergoing surgery received financial support for follow-up visits and treatment.

  • 42 NRCS volunteers received training as emergency first aid trainers and 180 as EFA volunteers to increase access to medical care for more remote communities.

 Economic security  

ICRC delegates systematically look into the situation of civilians affected by the conflict in order to assess their needs. In March, an evaluation of the needs of communities in remote areas of the Far Western region was carried out.

  • 1,669 families received non-food assistance comprising utensils, blankets, clothing, tarpaulins and buckets.

 Water and Habitat  

The ICRC has be gun work on sanitation facilities in various places of detention (Central prison, Dillibazar prison, Morang prison, Udayapur prison and Bardiya prison) to improve the quantity and quality of the water supply system. 

 
Promotion of IHL 
 

The following activities were carried out within the framework of IHL promotion.

  • On International Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, a press release was published in 9 national newspapers reminding the parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law

  • The ICRC took part in more than 20 seminars organised by various human rights organisations to present its mandate. 

  • Separate five-day instructors'courses were conducted for the Royal Nepalese Army and Armed Police Force. A total of 31 officers successfully completed the course.

  • A refresher course was held for 15 Nepalese police officers and a seminar for another 15 officers in Pokhara

  • Three short seminars were conducted with the RNA involving 83 members and a further six seminars were given to the police reaching a total of 251 members. 

    

 
The Movement 
 

The ICRC is supporting the NRCS to develop its conflict preparedness and response capacity and its ability to promote IHL, the fundamental principles of the Movement and the mandate of the ICRC.

  • 22 NRCS volunteers have been trained as disseminators

  • 41 NRCS volunteers have taken part in two conflict preparedness seminars

  • 2 sessions on IHL for external interlocutors were held.

The ICRC also supports the NRCS in efforts to prevent the misuse of the Red Cross emblem.

  • A further 14 districts have been declared misuse free, bringing the total to 38 out of 75 districts.