The report, 'Nepal: A spiralling human rights crisis' , shows that both the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN, Maoist) and government security forces have engaged in 'disappearances', abductions, torture and unlawful killings.

It also reveals that the situation has deteriorated since November 2001 when peace talks broke down and a state of emergency declared. Subsequently police have arrested more than 5,000 people and special counter-terrorism measures have undermined basic human rights.

'The conflict has had a grave impact on civilians. Scores of civilians are likely to be among the 1,300 suspected Maoists killed by the security forces and the Maoists have killed more than 440 civilians believed to be ‘enemies of the revolution'', Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International's report finds that Nepalese police have killed several hundred Maoists who should have been taken into custody and that Maoists have executed scores of police officers that were wounded, taken prisoner or who had surrendered.

While recognising the grave security threat posed by the 'people's war', Amnesty International is urging the government to adopt a broad-based strategy to ensure protection of the full range of human rights including access to education, services and economic development.

Background: ‘People's War'

*February 1996: Maoists declare the 'people's war' *May 1998: Human rights violations increase dramatically after police launch a 'security mobilisation operation' *February 2000: UN expert on unlawful killing visits Nepal and urges the international community to support the government with resources, including funding and expertise *Mid-2001: Maoists set up 'people's government' in 22 districts *23 November 2001: Peace talks break down, Maoists attack police and army posts in 42 districts *26 November 2001: State of emergency declared. New anti-terrorism measures give wide powers to the security forces.

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