Participation and obstruction: Justice and security sector reform in Nepal

Participation and obstruction: Justice and security sector reform in Nepal

This report aims to outline priorities for international community support for the effective and accountable provision of security and justice in Nepal. It also aims to highlight the need for utilising a participatory approach in the promotion of people-centred reform of the security and justice system in Nepal.

The worsening public security situation in many parts of Nepal threatens the faltering peace process that began in 2006. Many people do not perceive themselves as being safe, particularly women, business people and communities in the eastern and central Terai. The private sector has been badly hit by insecurity and particularly by the activities of armed and criminal groups, resulting in a slowing of economic growth with some businesses deciding to close down altogether.

The security sector – comprising the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force – is poorly equipped to deal with the current levels of insecurity. The Nepal Police, in particular, as the frontline in security provision, lack the personnel, infrastructure and equipment needed to be effective.

In addition, the perceived politicisation of security and justice providers means that there is limited trust in local police and the judiciary, particularly among women and marginalised groups. As a result, gender-based violence is widespread and occurs with impunity. Armed groups proliferate and youth continue to be co-opted by political parties and other groups to participate in violence.

However, there is increasing political recognition that insecurity is a key problem and a growing political appetite to address its causes through policy reform and capacity-building measures. The EU and several of its Member States are committed to supporting the improved provision of security and justice in Nepal as part of ensuring the continuation of the peace process and to ensure the transition to sustainable peace and economic development. 

This report is part of the ‘Initiative for Peacebuilding’ series, and is a follow-up to ‘Security for Whom? Security Sector Reform and Public Security in Nepal’, published in February 2009.