British government accused of helping monarchist torturers in Nepal


This video says about itself:

Legal bid over MI5 torture guidance

A British human rights group has launching legal action against the government over guidelines the UK’s intelligence agencies on how to interrogate prisoners held overseas.

Reprieve, which represents former Guantanamo Bay detainees, says unpublished guidance from 2002 and 2004 is unlawful because it condones complicity in torture.

Alan Fisher reports from London.

(Feb 23, 2010)

From AFP news agency:

Britain accused of conniving at torture of Maoists in Nepal’s civil war

Author says MI6 assisted Nepalese army as it carried out gross human rights violations in war with Maoist rebels

Sunday 31 August 2014 04.18 BST

British authorities have been accused of funding a four-year intelligence operation in Nepal that led to Maoist rebels being arrested, tortured and killed during the country’s civil war.

Thomas Bell, the author of a new book on the conflict, says MI6 funded safe houses and provided training in surveillance and counter-insurgency tactics to Nepal’s army and spy agency, the National Investigation Department (NID) under “Operation Mustang”, launched in 2002.

Nepal’s decade-long civil war left more than 16,000 dead, with rebels and security forces accused of serious human rights violations including killings, rapes, torture and disappearances.

“According to senior Nepalese intelligence and army officials involved in the operation, British aid greatly strengthened their performance and led to about 100 arrests,” said Bell, whose book Kathmandu is released in south Asia on Thursday.

“It’s difficult to put an exact number on it, but certainly some of those who were arrested were tortured and disappeared,” he said.

Maoist commander Sadhuram Devkota, known by his nom-de-guerre Prashant, was among those captured during Operation Mustang, in November 2004. Six weeks later, he was found hanging from a low window in his cell. Officials said he had committed suicide.

Despite protests, no independent investigation was ever carried out.

British authorities helped construct a bug-proof building in the NID headquarters, created a secure radio network for communications and supplied everything from cameras to computers to mobile phones and night vision binoculars, according to Bell’s sources in the Nepalese security establishment.

“The agency also sent a small number of British officers to Nepal, around four or five – some tied to the embassy, others operating separately,” Bell said.

The officers gave the Nepalese training in how to place bugs, how to penetrate rebel networks and how to groom informers.

Bell spent about a year interviewing some 20 highly-placed sources to corroborate the details of the operation, and said a senior western official told him the operation was cleared by Britain’s Foreign Office.

A Nepalese general with close knowledge of the operation told Bell there was no doubt British authorities realised that some of the arrested suspects would be tortured and killed.

“Being British they must have thought about human rights also, but they knew exactly what was happening to them,” the general said. “The thing must have been approved at a high level.”

Bell said it was “a peculiar contradiction that while calling for an end to abuses … the British were secretly giving very significant help in arresting targets whom they knew were very likely to be tortured”.

Bell covered Nepal’s civil war from 2002 to 2007, reporting for the Economist and the South China Morning Post.

Tejshree Thapa, senior researcher at the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, told AFP: “Nepal’s army was known by 2002 to be an abusive force, responsible for … summary executions, torture, custodial detentions.

“To support such an army is tantamount to entrenching and encouraging abuse and impunity.”

Sarus cranes in Myanmar


This video from Nepal is called Sarus Cranes – Giant Bird.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare cranes spotted in northern Myanmar

An unusually large group of eastern sarus crane, Grus antigone sharpii, have been spotted in the wetlands surrounding Indawgyi Lake in Kachin State, Myanmar.

The eastern sarus cranes, which are large non-migratory birds that stand approximately six feet tall, used to be found all across Southeast Asia but are now limited to Cambodia, extreme southern Laos, south Vietnam and Myanmar.

Listed on the IUCN red list as vulnerable, their numbers have declined considerably over the last 150 years due to loss of habitat and the effects of pollutants and it has been estimated that the current population of all sarus cranes is perhaps as low as 2.5 per cent of the numbers that existed in the 1850s.

“First we just saw their charismatic red heads sticking out of the tall green grass, but through our telescopes we soon spotted the amazing number of nine individuals,” said Ngwe Lwin of Fauna & Flora International.

Ngwe Lwin, Fauna & Flora International’s Terrestrial Conservation Programme Coordinator said, “Finding this large group of sarus crane in Indawgyi area has shown us that this species, which is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, is still safe in the Indawgyi area. We hope to see more in the future.”

Good tiger, rhino, elephant news from Nepal


This video says about itself:

Wildlife encounters on safari in Nepal at the … Bardia National Park. Wild elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and amazing encounters and charges by the Royal Bengal Tiger.

From Wildlife Extra:

Nepal celebrates zero poaching year

March 2014: Celebrations are running high in Nepal because for the second time in recent years it has achieved a major milestone in conservation, a zero poaching of tigers, rhinos and elephants for the period February 2013-February 2014. (The last time was in 2011).

At a time when tigers and rhinos are being rampantly poached around the world, this success it is a great reward for the country’s work and commitment to combating wildlife crime, and resounds hope for wildlife.

“The success of achieving zero poaching throughout the year is a huge achievement and a result of prioritising a national need to curb wildlife crimes in the country,” says Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “A national level commitment is key to encouraging complementing efforts, right down to the grassroots level, in order to address this biggest threat to wildlife not just in Nepal but across the world.”

It is due to strengthened protection and enforcement efforts across the country, led by the government and supported by its conservation partners such as WWF and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. The newly developed Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the establishment of its 16 district cells together with the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has also helped create the needed balance between central and local level enforcement to curb wildlife crimes.

“It is a matter of great pride to mark the first World Wildlife Day with the announcement of a year of zero poaching in Nepal,” says Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “We are committed to work with the government, conservation partners and the local communities to redouble efforts to sustain this success.”

“We congratulate Nepal on reducing poaching to zero within its borders,” says Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. “This achievement serves as a model for WWF’s goal for drastically reducing wildlife crime worldwide – with a combination of brave policy making, determined implementation and robust enforcement.”

To read Sue Watt’s trip report to Bardia National Park in Nepal when she went on the trail of the elusive Bengal tiger please click here.

Helping Nepal to deliver on its conservation targets: here.

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