UNMIN reports
A major milestone, but challenges ahead in Nepal's peace process
A major milestone, but challenges ahead in Nepal's peace process

Kathmandu, 27 May 2008 (UNMIN)

On the eve of the first meeting of Nepal's Constituent Assembly, United Nations chief Ian Martin said that the successful election was a major milestone in the peace process, 'but it does not represent the completion of the process.' Speaking at a press conference at the Reporters' Club in Kathmandu upon his return from briefing the Security Council in New York, Martin highlighted the challenges that lay ahead for both the yet to be formed government and the 601-member Constituent Assembly. These, he said, were 'the unfinished business of the peace process.'

Martin reiterated his messages from his briefing last week to the UN Security Council, including focusing on challenges still faced in forming the new government to provide the basis for stable governance and development throughout the life of the Constituent Assembly and move ahead with sorely needed economic development; on the profound challenges of reaching consensus or at least two thirds agreement on fundamental issues in the new constitution; on meeting the expectations of traditionally marginalised communities for participation in all State bodies, not only the CA. Of particular concern to the Security Council, Martin noted, was the pressing need to reach agreement on the future of the two armies in Nepal - a process that is closely linked to the future of UNMIN's arms monitoring role. Martin also highlighted the need to transform the Young Communist League into a body which respects the legal functioning of the State. And he pointed to the unfinished business of dealing with the impact of the 10-year conflict. 'I think there are many victims' groups that are entitled to feel that during the election their own concerns brought little attention,' he said, listing a number of issues to be addressed: including 'compensation to victims, investigation into disappearances, the return of property and the return of internally displaced persons.'

Martin emphasized the need to overcome the persistent impunity for crimes and human rights violations in Nepal in order to re-establish justice, public security and law and order. Highlighting the recent killing by Maoist army personnel of Ram Hari Shrestha, Martin said that 'the impunity agenda does not begin and end with the killing of Ram Hari Shrestha, outrageous as that is.' Highlighting violations committed through the election campaign period, during the mass movements of April 2006 and in the Terai in early 2007, as well as during the conflict including by the Nepal Army, Martin said that 'this is a time for all political parties to show that they have the political will to bring to justice those responsible for violations of human rights, and not intervene as they are accustomed to do to protect their own supporters while calling for justice when their supporters are the victims.'

Martin concluded by saying that 'the desire of the international community to see that peace process fully successful has only been increased by the achievement of the Constituent Assembly election, and the United Nations and the international community wishes to continue to stand by Nepal as it faces the very considerable challenges that are still ahead.'

In a swearing-in ceremony today at Kathmandu's Birendra International Convention Centre - the site for Constituent Assembly meetings - 567 members of the 601-seat assembly took their oaths in preparation for tomorrow's historic first session of the Assembly. There are to be five by-elections for seats, one successful candidate has not presented himself, and two seats are still to be determined by the Constituent Assembly Court; the 26 members to be appointed by the Cabinet have not yet been nominated.

Source: UNMIN , May 2008


Elections in Nepal
External links
UN Nepal Information