Nepal’s ‘Remarkable’ Peace Needs Int. Support
Nepal’s ‘Remarkable’ Peace Needs International Support – UN Envoy
Nepal deserves credit for the “remarkable” success of its peace process since its civil war ended two years ago, but now its energies must focus on overcoming poverty and discrimination, the chief United Nations official in the Asian country said today.
In an op-ed column published in The Guardian, Ian Martin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Nepal, called on the international community to strengthen its support so that Nepal can “sustain the still fragile success” of its peace process.
“The biggest challenges are those which go to the roots of the insurgency: poverty, injustice and discrimination,” Mr. Martin wrote.
“One of the costs of the conflict has been the retreat of local governance and arrested development in a desperately poor country where over 80 per cent of the population lives in rural districts. As Nepal aspires to becoming a federal democratic republic, expectations are high among diverse groups for greater control of their livῥs and resources.
Mr. Martin stressed that it was also vital to promote respect for the rule of law and to tackle impunity, noting that none of the human rights abuses – such as killings, disappearances and acts of torture – by either side during the protracted conflict have been prosecuted effectively.
He added that the Maoists have entered the new Government “still with their own army – confined to cantonments, with their weapons stored under UN monitoring – and a Young Communist League which has persistently acted outside the law.
“Commitments to resolve the future of the Maoist combatants, alongside what the peace agreements call the ‘democratization’ of the State army, must now be implemented.”
But he said the Nepali people deserved enormous credit for the “truly indigenous” peace process that has led to the end of the war, the holding of Constituent Assembly elections and the formation of a democratic government, all within three years.
The Special Representative said it was particularly impressive that this year’s elections had ensured that women and previously marginalized groups will now have strong showings in the Assembly.
He concluded that the UN Mission in Nepal UNMIN would continue to support the country’s transition.
“The Maoist and non-Maoist parties have asked the United Nations to maintain a political presence while the issue of the former combatants is resolved, and we stand ready to support peacebuilding, recovery and long-term development,” he said.
“From Delhi to Washington, from Brussels to Tokyo, the international community must be generous and steady in assisting Nepal to sustain the still fragile success of a remarkable peace process.”