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6 March 2009The top United Nations human rights official in Nepal is urging all sides in the troubled Chitwan district to exercise restraint and to resolve their differences through dialogue, following the deaths of two protesters and a policeman in the past two days. “I have spoken with the Government, the police and representatives of some protesting groups, and voiced my concerns about violent protests and the use of lethal force,” said Richard Bennett, representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal). “OHCHR-Nepal is extremely concerned about the use of live ammunition by police,” the Office added, saying that one person was reportedly killed and several others injured, three critically, after police fired live ammunition in the Tandi area on the night of 5 March. A curfew has since been declared in the local municipality. While police claimed they fired in self-defence after protests turned violent, OHCHR-Nepal is stressing that firearms must not be used in policing demonstrations unless there is a very serious threat to life and only once all other methods have been exhausted.The Office is also extremely concerned at reports that two members of the Armed Police Force (APF) were attacked by protesters with khukuris (large knives) during a demonstration on 6 March. One constable has since died and the other is seriously injured.“OHCHR-Nepal reiterates its call for thorough and independent investigations into all killings which have occurred,” the Office said.An estimated 13,000 people lost their lives in Nepal during a decade-long civil war that came to an end when the Government and Maoists signed a peace deal in 2006, leading to landmark elections last year.

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