Kathmandu — The UN has formally announced the appointment of a former rights envoy as the head of its new mission in Nepal.
Ian Martin, who was earlier the Nepal representative of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will head the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), the UN office said in a statement.
After Nepal’s government and the Maoist guerrillas agreed to ask the UN to speed up the peace negotiations by managing the arms and armies of both sides, Martin was named personal representative of the then UN chief Kofi Annan to head the new UN team.
Annan’s successor Ban Ki-Moon had proposed to the UN Security Council that a 12-month mission be established in Nepal to help the peace process as well as assist the election to be held by June.
After the security council’s approval, Martin was chosen as the new personal representative of the UN chief to head the UNMIN.
Martin said he was honoured by the new responsibility.
The envoy added that though Nepal has made quick progress since the days of “full-scale armed conflict” in 2005, when King Gyanendra seized total power, yet building lasting peace in the kingdom was not going to be an easy task.
“The death toll across the Terai in recent days is a tragic reminder of the magnitude of the challenges facing Nepal and the need to address them through dialogue and flexibility,” Martin said, referring to the ethnic protests that had paralysed south Nepal for nearly three weeks.
He also said that much hard work remains to be done before a free and fair election can be held, without the threat of arms or intimidation.
Martin’s team’s work to start registering and locking up the arms and soldiers of the Maoists ran into two-fold trouble.
First, the guerrillas objected to the method used by the world body to register firearms and then, the protesters in the Terai region tried to block the arms monitors’ vehicles.