Carter Center Urges an End to Election Related Violence

The Carter Center, that is here to observe the Constituent Assembly election, says it “strongly condemns” the YCL violence in the hill and mountain districts. The following is a press statement release yesterday:

[A Candidate Killed: An unidentified group shot dead Kamal Prasad Adhikari, a candidate of the National People’s Front Nepal (NPFN) for the CA polls from Banke district constituency-2, on yesterday night. A masked group of around six persons came to Adhikari’s house last night at around 11 at Bethaani in the district and fired four rounds of bullets at him. Jawala Singh -led Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM-J) has owned up the responsibility of the killing. (more here)

The Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal has observed the pre-electoral environment in the country for the past 14 months. The Center is encouraged by the level of electoral preparations and campaigning presently taking place, as this represents a marked increase from the two previous election periods in June and November 2007.

Meanwhile the European Union has established a mission to observe the Constituent Assembly election and the EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) organized a press conference yesterday to let the public know about their presence in Nepal. The head of the mission Jan Mulder, a member of the European Parliament, addressed reporters. The mission will comprise of 120 observers from 22 different EU countries, as well as Norway and Switzerland, a press statement issued at the news conference stated.

A guy who were seated next to Mulder threw a satire to the reporters who came late in the press conference. I agree with him that they should have come in time. I also must tell him to learn a bit about organizing press conference. Just because you are from Europe to “observe” the elections and to “promote” democracy doesn’t mean you can organize good press conferences. I saw Kieran Dwyer of UNMIN in the conference. He might be able to share some of the tricks and skills of having an organized press conference to Anna Owen, the so called press officer of the Mission. Kieran should also tell Anna that she should be responding to emails from reporters because the job of a “press officer” is not just to sit on the dais and point out the reporter to ask the questions. Though I hate the unnecessary bureaucracy that is seen in UNMIN press conference (your bag has to go through metal dictator and you must exchange your ID card with the one they provide for the purpose of press conference), they are good when it comes to the handling inside the hall. I also like them for sending the English transcript of the Q and A though I think the Nepali transcript, which comes late, is useless even for a reporter like me who works for a Nepali language newspaper. Also, a waste of manpower!

The moral of the post is: Those who come to “promote” democracy in a country like Nepal where we have seen historical participation of people in the pro-democracy movements (twice in 16 years) should come to Nepal with some degree of preparation about how you are going to “promote” democracy here. By the way, the Nepali version of the EU EOM press release uses the word “prajatanrta” for “democracy”. The translator seems to have no idea about what happened in April 2006 and there after. Because of the changed context and situation, Nepali people have started using “loktantra” for the word “democracy”. Here is the press release. –DW

Additionally, following the signing of the United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF) agreement, the security situation has improved significantly in the Terai, though many districts remain fragile. All across the country, the Center’s long term observers report that the people of Nepal want to participate in the constituent assembly election and expect that a successful election will bring sustainable peace, democracy, and prosperity to Nepal. Continue reading Carter Center Urges an End to Election Related Violence