FIVE Fundamentals of Nepali Peace Process, according to Ian Martin:
The first fundamental is the commitment to power-sharing and consensus. The second fundamental is the commitment of the Maoists to the transformation of their movement, to conform to democratic multi-party norms and to respect the rule of law. The third, the commitment to transformation in the security sector: to the “integration and rehabilitation” of former Maoist combatants, and to an action plan for “democratisation” of the Nepali Army. The fourth, the commitment to political, economic and social transformation, where the Comprehensive Peace Agreement set out a radical and ambitious agenda. The fifth and last fundamental is the commitment to address the needs of victims of the conflict, and to build the rule of law by ending impunity.
By Ian Martin
[Martin is former Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal for the United Nations Mission in Nepal]
In recent days there have been calls for the revision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, accusations and counter-accusations that it is being broken by Maoist agitation or threats of mobilisation of the Army, and calling into question even of the 12-point Understanding which was the very foundation of the peace process. It is thus timely to ask whether the peace process is failing; if so, why; and what is required to save it.
I no longer speak for the UN on Nepal, and I want to make very clear that I am speaking only for myself. I do so solely as a friend of Nepal, and as someone who deeply wants to see Nepal go forward in peace, respect for human rights, and socio-economic progress for all its diverse peoples.
I want to try to address what I regard as the larger underlying issues of the peace process in Nepal, which I believe is the way to address the question of what needs to be done to get it back on track.
Five aspects of the peace agreements have been unchanging and are fundamental, and it is the extent to which they have been respected or not respected which I want to examine this evening. Continue reading Ian Martin asks: Is Peace Process in Nepal Failing?
It’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly. Three reasons:
By Neil Horning
In a democracy, the Army should not be a center of power in the slightest. It is supposed to carry out the will of the elected government within the confines of the constitution. To illustrate, when Obama was elected, it was considered a novelty when he did not replace the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Thus, in assessing this development, I feel it’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly.
There a couple of reasons why this could be so. In increasing importance:
1. The Army Chief has important friends in elite circles
Even in the US it’s common to say, “it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” This could not be truer in Nepal. While the country has gone through tremulous upheaval recently, nepotism, corruption, and crony-ism have hardly abated. While the Nepali Congress and The UML formally apposed the Palace, their upper crust, mostly Brahmin-Chetri members ran in the same social circles with royals and royalists, dined with them, attended the same wedding receptions, ran the same civic organizations, served on the same boards, etc. All in this elite class share the goal of, to one degree or another, preserving the power of their own class-caste. These are social contacts that nearly all Maoist members severed while going underground, if they existed to begin with, and they hardly have had time to return. The Army Chief Surely has many friends within the CPN UML and NC, if not relatives (which trump all), and many favors to call in. Continue reading Why Nepal is Divided Over the Sacking of Army Chief?
For the record: Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cantonments have started recruiting new soldiers apparently in response to the ongoing recruitment in Nepal Army (NA). Though the Maoist party itself has yet to officially comment on the recruitment, key political parties have come out strongly against the drive saying it violates past pacts, most notably the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of November 2006. Maoists, who head the defense ministry, said the same when Army recruitment row broke out. The other political parties gave the nod to Army recruitment. Continue reading The Recruitment that Threatens to Derail the Peace Process
Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, addressed reporters at Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu today. Here is the Q and A, as provided by United Nations Mission in Nepal. Here is Ian’s last briefing to UNSC.
Rishi [Dhamala, the Chair of the Club], Thank you very much indeed for inviting me to come to the Reporters’ Club for one final time before I leave my present responsibilities. I want to thank you and the Reporters’ Club for the consistent interest that you have shown in the work of OHCHR and then in the work of UNMIN during my responsibilities for each of those. When I came to open the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in May 2005, defending freedom of expression, freedom of media was one of our priorities. And, as the terrible murder of Uma Singh reminds us, and many other threats to journalists, it’s still an extremely relevant agenda today, and OHCHR and many other colleagues in the United Nations will go on defending freedom of expression and freedom of media.
When people ask me if I am worried that Nepal may see a drift to some kind of authoritarianism, my answer is that the democratic spirit in Nepal is now too strongly alive for that to be a possibility even if some people wanted it. And, I have had the privilege to be in Nepal during Jana Andolan in 2006, and during the Constituent Assembly election, and I have no doubt that people of Nepal who had their say, who demanded peace and change on both those two occasions will insist that Nepal maintains a democratic country in which they have full freedom of expression. Continue reading And the Last Press Briefing by Ian Martin
Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Nepal speaks at the Meeting of the Security Council on 16 January 2009
The request of Nepal for United Nations assistance in support of its peace process
This is the tenth and last time I am briefing the Council on the assistance of the United Nations in support of Nepal’s peace process, and in particular the work of UNMIN. Although neither the peace process nor the Government’s desire for the support of UNMIN has come to a conclusion, it is an appropriate moment not only to consider developments since the last briefing in November, but also to reflect on the achievements and remaining challenges in sustaining peace in Nepal. Continue reading The Last Briefing by Ian Martin
The UN Secretary-General will visit Nepal latter this month, is spokesperson said Thursday. While in Nepal, the Secretary-General will meet with the President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and members of the Constituent Assembly. The Secretary-General will also visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the spokesperson said.
Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, held a press conference at the Reporter’s Club, Kathmandu today. Here is the transcript as provided by the UNMIN. (Note: the questions in some cases are summarised)
Ram Kumar Kamat, The Himalayan Times: I read in today’s newspaper that Girija Prasad Koirala asked you that if Maoist army is integrated into Nepal Army, it will tarnish its image internationally. Apparently you agreed to this when he asked you. Do you want to say anything on that?
Ian Martin: First, let me say that neither I nor UNMIN have ever been an advocate for or against integration. We have never taken a position on this issue. We have always made clear that like other aspects of the peace process, this is for Nepalis to decide and the political actors reached agreements as to the process by which they would decide it. And that’s the special committee that I have referred to and that’s the place where the discussion about integration and re-integration has to take place. And if the United Nations is asked to make international experience available to the special committee then we will be happy to do so, but not with any United Nations proposal or any United Nations model to offer from elsewhere. Continue reading Ian Martin of UNMIN Speaks to the Press
Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal at a press conference at the Reporter’s Club, Kathmandu today. The following is the transcript provided by his office:
Introduction (in Nepali) by Rishi Dhamala, President of the Reporters’ Club.
Ian Martin: Thank you, Rishi. I could not understand your introduction, but you are usually over generous. And thank you for persisting in asking me to come again to the Reporters’ Club. I am sorry I wasn’t able to do so before I went to New York, but this is my first opportunity after returning from New York.
I briefed the Security Council in New York last Thursday. You will, I hope, have seen the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council in which we described the holding and the outcome of the Constituent Assembly election. But my emphasis when I briefed the Council last week was not so much on the achievement of the Constituent Assembly election, which the Security Council warmly welcomed, but on the very considerable challenges that still lie ahead for Nepal. Of course, those challenges include the negotiations that are going on right now to try to find a basis for forming a new government. But there are much more profound challenges ahead for the newly elected Constituent Assembly when it begins meeting tomorrow. Continue reading Ian Martin: Too Many Challenges Ahead for Nepal
Report of the Secretary-General on the request of Nepal for United Nations assistance in support of its peace process Continued from previous blog (Part II of II)
III. Status of the United Nations Mission in Nepal
17. As at 24 April 2008, a total of 968 of the authorized 1,048 personnel had been recruited to the Mission. Of 795 civilian personnel on board, 233 or 29.30 per cent are female. Among substantive staff, 32 per cent are female, while among administrative staff, 16 per cent are female. There are 13 female arms monitors, a number subject to the nomination of candidates by Member States. Female national staff account for 27.79 per cent of the total number of staff. The efforts of UNMIN to recruit national staff from traditionally marginalized communities have yielded positive results: 46 per cent of staff (169 out of 367) are from traditionally marginalized groups. Continue reading Status of the United Nations Mission in Nepal
Report of the Secretary-General on the request of Nepal for United Nations assistance in support of its peace process Part I of II [Here is the II part.]
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1796 (2008), by which the Council, following the request of the Government of Nepal and on the basis of the recommendation of the Secretary-General, renewed the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), as set out in resolution 1740 (2007), until 23 July 2008. UNMIN was established as a special political mission with a mandate to monitor the management of arms and armed personnel of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN(M)) and the Nepal Army, assist in monitoring ceasefire arrangements, provide technical support for the conduct of the election of a Constituent Assembly in a free and fair atmosphere and provide a small team of electoral monitors. Continue reading UN Report on Progress of Nepal Peace Process
With 74 days remaining for its mandate to expire the United Nations Mission to Nepal (UNMIN) has started preparations to move out of Nepal. UNMIN chief Ian Martin wrote a letter on Thursday 8th May to his staffs at the agency telling them that “It is now necessary to plan towards the end of the mission, and I have established an End-of-Mission Task Force to undertake this planning.” This comes at a time when the Maoist party, almost certain to lead the next government has repeatedly said that UNMIN is not needed after this term is over. Indian are also expressing against the presence of UNMIN. At the end of the memo, Martin adds: “Once the Constituent Assembly has been convened and a new government is in office, I will discuss with the government and report to the Secretary-General regarding any request it may make for UN support that cannot be provided by the UN Country Team.” Below is the full text of the letter provided to UWB by a senior UMNIN staff: Continue reading UNMIN, Preparing to Say Bye Bye Nepal, Establishes End-of-Mission Task Force