Western powers pressed Nepal on Sunday for an independent probe into the fate of people missing during a decade-long civil war, piling pressure on the government over an issue seen as crucial for lasting peace in the country.
The Red Cross says 1,200 people are still missing three years after the end of the conflict between the army and Maoist rebels, both of whom were blamed for abuses such as arbitrary arrests, killings, abduction, torture and disappearances.
Ten of Nepal's main Western donors, including the United States, urged the Nepal army and the Maoists on the International Day of the Disappeared to end their "long refusal" to cooperate fully on war-time disappearances and delayed justice.
"Effectively dealing with the legacy of the conflict will allow Nepal's transition to peace to continue on the basis of trust, truth and reconciliation," a British Embassy statement said.
Under a peace deal, the Maoists and the government agreed to set up a commission to look for the whereabouts of the people missing in war, but distrust and political conflict between parties have so far prevented the formation of such a panel.
The peace pact ensured the return on the former rebels into the political mainstream, but further progress stalled after the Maoists walked out of the government in May amid a row over the firing of the country's army chief.
Analysts said while rehabilitation of the Maoist former fighters remained key to securing a lasting peace in the Himalayan nation, the issue of settling disputes over war disappearances was also crucial.