One year ago, Nepal was devastated by a major earthquake that took over 8,700 lives and caused widespread destruction to 14 of the country’s 75 districts. One major and countless smaller aftershocks added to the carnage, casualties and immense trauma that people experienced. While on this day we want to honour and remember the lives that were lost, it is also a time to reflect on how to support those that are still picking up the pieces of their former homes, communities and livelihoods.
In Nepal we help people tackle the root causes of insecurity and build the conditions for sustainable peace.
We bring together citizens, youth groups, businesses, the police and government to improve public security and access to justice, especially for the poor and marginalised. We work with journalists to support a safe, responsible and independent media. We work with institutions and organisations to help them deliver aid in a conflict-sensitive way. We also research the impact that climate change is having on local communities and advocate for ways to mitigate these effects.
Our work is important because without fair and equal access to security and justice in Nepal, sustainable peace is not possible.
We have been working in Nepal since 2001.
In 2006 the government of Nepal and Maoist insurgents signed a Comprehensive Peace Accord which ended 10 years of civil war. The agreement established Nepal as a democratic republic and set the vision for a just and inclusive state.
Since then Nepal has made great strides in improving security, justice and inclusion in the country, and the Maoist forces have been disarmed and demobilised. The risk of a renewed insurgency is low. However, political in-fighting continues to hamper progress on key decisions in the country.
The failure of the Constituent Assembly to agree a new constitution by the May 2012 deadline has led to the dissolution of parliament and an extended political crisis, with local and national politics becoming increasingly fragmented. The implementation of the peace process is therefore on hold and policy commitments are not able to be fully met. Nepal’s peace process is also being affected by a rise in inter-communal tensions and identity-based interest groups, increasing politicisation of the state and civil institutions, and an intensifying politico-criminal nexus.
In this context, there are a number of important priorities for supporting peace in Nepal. These include helping to create the conditions for equitable economic growth – including establishing basic rule of law and security – and keeping the political-level peace process, as well as the drafting of the new constitution, on track.