KATMANDU, Nepal — Despite high hopes for Nepal’s “historic” April 10 vote, the early campaign period has indicated that elections will not be free, will not be fair and certainly won’t be fast. Instead, expect ongoing violence between political parties, widespread voter intimidation and a result around, say, two months after election day. That’s not to say the months of planning and millions of dollars will be a complete waste, but the vote probably won’t herald the birth of a “New Nepal,” as so many have hoped for after 10 years of civil war and half a decade of dubious [...]
Pakistan’s Aid Waiver
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Congress granted the President the authority to exempt Pakistan from prohibitions on foreign aid to countries where the elected head of state has been deposed by military coup. The bill, subsequently renewed each year since, stipulates the conditions under which the power be invoked: if the President determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that such waiver — (A) would facilitate the transition to democratic rule in Pakistan; and (B) is important to United States efforts to respond to, deter, or prevent acts of international terrorism. Yesterday, President Bush once again invoked the [...]
U.N. URGES AFGHAN ACTION ON RIGHTS — United Nations officials are urging Afghanistan to address rampant human rights abuses and an accompanying culture of impunity for those who commit them. “At a minimum, there needs to be the space for a national dialogue that acknowledges the injustices and suffering that have occurred. The voices of victims need to be heard,” Norah Niland, chief human rights officer for the U.N.’s Afghan mission, said March 18. “Building an environment that is conducive to respect for human rights is fundamental to a peaceful and democratic society.” A top priority, U.N. officials said, is [...]
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