OCHA Nepal Situation Overview - Jun 2007


Issue No. 14

June Kathmandu, 12 June 2007


- CPN-Maoist continues to pressurize the government to declare Nepal a Republic

- Eight political parties agree to hold Constituent Assembly polls in November

- The second phase of registration of CPN-Maoist combatants set to begin

- CPN-Maoist affiliated groups vandalize symbols of Monarchy across the country

- Bandhs called by different groups continue to paralyse life across the country

- Seizure of land by TJMM and other groups linked to CPN-Maoist continues

- Positive winter wheat yield reported in many districts, but shortfall remains in Mid and Far West regions

- Snow Avalanche leaves 16 people dead in Dolpa District

- Natural Disaster Contingency planning workshop successfully completed


Politics and Major Developments

During the reporting period, CPN-Maoist continued to demand declaration of Nepal as Republic and filed a Bill in Parliament for this purpose. The Prime Minister (PM) however remained adamant that this could only be done once due process as stipulated in the interim constitution (through Constituent Assembly) elections is followed. However CPN-Maoist continued with their Republican campaign and reportedly collected 1.5 million signatures of individuals who support Nepal being declared a Republic. On 13 May CPN-Maoist handed over a petition with the signatures to the speaker of Interim Parliament. Similarly CPN-Maoist through its various affiliate groups like All Nepal National Free Student Union- Revolutionary (ANNFSU-R) and the Young Communist League (YCL) continued vandalising statutes and other symbols of monarchy across the country.

A number of clashes between CPN-Maoists' YCL and cadres of other political parties as well as government law enforcement officers continued to be reported across the country. On 27 May, in the Western Region's Parbat District, a district-level political orientation programme of the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party - Rana (RPP-R) was disrupted in Kusma by suspected YCL members. The YCL cadres reportedly entered the meeting hall, seized all documents and started beating the participants indiscriminately. A number of the meeting participants reportedly sustained minor injuries. The previous day, the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N), a splinter group of the RPP-R indefinitely postponed a party gathering initially scheduled for 26 May in Pokhara after failing to get security assurances from the District Administration Office (DAO). Although all other political parties committed not to interfere with RPP-N activities, the CPN-Maoist maintained that their party policy remains not to allow "regressive forces" to freely re-organize themselves. On 27 May, violence erupted in Simikot, the district headquarters of Humla District in the Mid-Western Region, following confrontation between CPNMaoist cadres and Nepal Congress- Democratic (NC-D) cadres over reported arrest by police of a CPN-Maoist cadre on suspicion of his involvement in the disappearance of an NC-D member in March. The arrest sparked a wave of protests by the CPN-Maoist, which termed the arrest as illegal and politically motivated, leading to confrontation and injuries to cadres on both sides. This led to further tensions, prompting the District Administration office to impose night time curfew for two days from 27-29 May. The CPN-Maoist cadres in Humla District are reported to have consequently warned NC-D members not to carry out any political activities at the Village level.

During the reporting period, the Government of Nepal reported that approximately 2.58 million citizenship certificates had been distributed when the exercise ended in May. On 31 May, the leaders of the eight political parties decided to hold the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections by the third week of November. The parties also further agreed that the Prime Minister would fix the exact date of the elections in consultation with the Election Commission; that the Election Constituency Delineation Commission (ECDC) would be requested to review its report in view of growing demands by Madhesi parliamentarians; and that all laws necessary for the elections would be adopted. On 30 May, the Election Commission had called on the Government to adopt all election-related Bills by mid-June to enable the conduct of CA elections by November.

On 31 May, Interim Parliament resumed proceedings after the protesting CPN-Maoist, Madhesi and other parliamentarians agreed to have resumption of Parliamentary business. Parliamentary proceedings had been disrupted since 18 April by Madhesi and CPN-Maoist members of Interim Parliament who were demanding among other things; issues affecting Madhesi to be addressed, announcement of date for CA elections, declaration of Nepal as a republican state and better management of the Cantonment sites.

On 1 June, the ministerial talk's team that was formed on 8 April to address concerns of the marginalized groups convened its first formal meeting with Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum (MPRF). During the talks, the government reportedly promised to address 20 of the 26 demands that had been made by the MPRF it deemed reasonable, including declaration of Madhesis killed during past agitation as martyrs, compensation to the affected families, free treatment to the Madhesis who were injured during their struggle and release of the Madhesis who have been arrested during protest programmes. Further talks between MPRF and the ministerial team will be convened at a later date. Similarly talks with other minority groups like Janajatis and National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) continued.

The second phase of registration and verification of CPNMaoist combatants is set to begin soon at Division 1 Cantonment site in Ilam District, Eastern Nepal. This follows a decision to do so by the Joint Monitoring and Coordination Committee (JMCC), which comprises representatives from CPN-Maoist, Nepal Army and United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). A team of about 80 UN staff from UNMIN, UNDP and UNICEF are expected to be involved in the verification of the CPN-Maoist Combatants, which shall simultaneously go on in the 7 main and 21 Cantonment sites across the country. According to the Tripartite Agreement on Management of Arms and Armies, the combatants identified as minors or post 26 May 2006 recruits through the verification process will be discharged from the CPN-Maoist army once a re-integration package is ready.


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