3. UNMIN in Peace Process: Politics In and Out and DDR/SSR
The monitoring of the NA and the PLA was the prime task before the conflicted parties. To solve the problem, they requested the UN.19 The UNMIN was invited after the series of formal and informal agreement and understanding in Nepal by the both conflicted parties (Maoist and the then government) to accomplish the peace process. Maoist had advocated a reliable international agency to end the peace process for the logical conclusion. As the Maoist and the SAP were seeking the role of the UN for the settlement of the post armed conflict state, a 12-point understanding had justified this intention that was conducted in November 21, 2005 between the Maoist and Seven Party Alliance with the provision to keep the Maoists armed force and the Royal Army under the United Nations or a reliable international supervision during the process of the election of constituent assembly. Again a 8-point Agreement was made on June 16, 2006 between the conflicted parties to request the United Nations to assist in the management of the armies and arms of both the parties and to monitor them for a free and fair election of the Constituent Assembly. However, the UNMIN is a special political mission in support of the peace process in Nepal with no explicit mandates on SSR/DDR or SST20. It may be the weakest missions out of 63 (from 1948 to till date) in the world.
The then Nepal Government on the support of SPAM requested the UN assistance to conduct free and fair election of the Constituent Assembly to conclude the peace process. Its role is no less than the silent observers.
In August 9, 2006 has sent 5-point joint letter of the than PM and Maoist supreme commander Prachanda sent to UNGS with the following provision that made possible to settle the UNMIN in Nepal:
- Continue its human rights monitoring through the OHCHR, Nepal;
- Assist the monitoring of the Code of Conduct during the Ceasefire;
- Manage arms and armed personnel of both the sides deploying qualified civilian personnel to monitor and verify the confinement of Maoist combatants and their weapons within designated cantonment areas;
- Monitor the Nepal Army to ensure that it remains in its barracks and its weapons are not used for or against any side; and
- Provide election observation for the election of the Constituent Assembly in consultation with the parties.
With the joint request of Maoist supremo Puspa Kamal Dahal (alias Prachanda) and the then PM Girija Prasad Koirala, the then UN Secretary-General put forward the document on November 22, 2006 to the President of the Security Council. He appointed Ian Martin as his Personal Representative to undertake consultations with all concerned parties in order to build on the common understanding that had emerged.
The UN political mission was deployed in Nepal with the strength of 200 international civilians, 337 local civilians, 72 military observers and volunteers on January 23, 2007 under the Resolution 1740 of the Security Council (SC) for a year. While the task was not completed on the mentioned tenure, Nepal Government again requested t the request of the Government of Nepal, the Security Council unanimously extended the UNMIN’s mandate for six months on January 23, 2008 (Resolution 1796), on July 23, 2008 (Resolution 1825), the third time on January 23, 2009 (Resolution 1864), and for the fourth time on July 23, 209 (Resolution 1879). The mandates of UNMIN (Resolution 1740) are as follows:
- Monitor the management of arms and armed personnel of the Nepal Army and the Maoist army, in line with the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
- Assist the parties through a Joint Monitoring Coordinating Committee in implementing their agreement on the management of arms and armed personnel
- Assist in the monitoring of ceasefire arrangements
- Provide technical assistance to the Election Commission in the planning, preparation and conduct of the election of a Constituent Assembly in a free and fair atmosphere.
UNMIN had started his work from January-February 2007, with the assistance of UNDP, UNICEF and Interim Task Force (ITF)22.On the first step of its works, the UNMIN registered 32,250 Maoist army personnel and 3,475 Maoist army weapons registered and stored along with 2,855 Nepal Army weapons. The registered Maoist Army Personnel were verified under the verification mission by the UNMIN which was completed in December 2007. The number of verification has been given below:
- 19, 602 (61% out of 32,250) were verified comprising 15,756 (80%) men and 3,846 (20%) women
- 8,640 (27%) personnel did not appear for verification interviews (automatically disqualified
- 4,008 (12%) persons including 2,973 minors (9%) discharged and reintegrated into society in early 2010.
However the presence of UNMIN has become critical especially by the politicians over time. The prime question is here that how the UNMIN has become a subject of politics in Nepal since its deployment. The answer of this question has to be searched in role of UNMIN, its mandates and responsibility towards the peace process. However, the discussion of this issue is far behind of the scope of this paper.