By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu
The European Union says it believes the peace process in Nepal has lost its momentum and has warned of growing lawlessness there.
The Maoists are demanding the abolition of the monarchy
The comments came from a four-member EU delegation, known as a troika, as it concluded a three-day visit.
A peace deal officially ended Nepal's decade-long Maoist uprising a year ago.
Despite the end of the war, violence has continued over much of Nepal this year as various groups battle to secure political strength for the future.
The law and order situation has, if anything, deteriorated, with government institutions barely functioning.
Criminal gangs are getting more powerful, especially in the southern plains, while the youth league of the Maoist former rebels is trying to take on the role of government.
The EU delegation, headed by a Portuguese diplomat, said that from its meetings, it was clear that security was worsening with what it called severe violence between communities, people living in fear and confidence in the police damaged.
Planned elections were recently postponed for the second time after the Maoists put forward fresh demands.
The EU visitors said the peace process had lost momentum and called for early and credible elections.
Addressing one of Nepal's most consistent failings, the delegation complained that there was continuing impunity in connection with human rights violations by all sides and said the issue must be tackled now.
Ministers have promised there will soon be a new election date, but there have been no further details.
The chief election commissioner has told the politicians, who are engaged in prolonged squabbling, not to name election dates that they have no intention of honouring.