6260th Meeting (AM)
Nepal's Representative Requests UN Mission Extension until 15 May, Says All Parties Committed to Writing New Constitution by May 2010 Deadline
While the fragility of Nepal's peace process remains real, in the past month the parties had demonstrated a "renewed urgency" on the core issues and those breakthroughs in the political impasse must be followed by swift progress in the peace process to avoid instability and allow the United Nations mission there to complete its tasks, the Security Council was told this morning.
"Encouraging as recent developments have been, it is imperative to follow through and resolve the outstanding main tasks in the peace process", said Karin Landgren, who is the Secretary-General's representative and head of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). "Until that happens, the peace process will remain at risk." Ms. Landgren addressed the Council as she introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the request of Nepal for United Nations assistance in support of its peace process (document S/2010/17). The report, released today, says the peace process between the Government and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or UCPN-M, remained largely stalled last year due mainly to a breakdown of trust following the 2008 election of the Constituent Assembly. In the report, the Secretary-General reiterates his warning of the grave danger posed by the situation and strongly urges the Nepalese parties to make every effort to "return to their tradition of working by consensus that has yielded positive results".
In her briefing today, Ms. Landgren said that the parties must move ahead speedily with the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist army personnel, with the conclusion of the constitution-drafting process and with the fresh elections that were to follow. She added that due to the long impasse, UNMIN's support to the peace process, particularly through the monitoring of arms and armies and chairmanship of the Joint Monitoring Coordinating Committee, had yet to be completed.
She noted, however, that the 28 May deadline for the promulgation of a new constitution and the need to create conditions for UNMIN's orderly exit had generated intense discussion and reflection. Although the hour was late, the recent actions by the Government and the parties, if followed through with vision, could usher in constructive action for the next state of Nepal's democratic transition
Since mid-December, she said, the UCPN-M stopped obstructing the work of the Legislature-Parliament, the long-discussed High-Level Political Mechanism was set up, the first discharge of the disqualified Maoist army personnel took place under the newly-agreed Action Plan, and the Special Committee was now discussing a timeline for integration and rehabilitation of 19,000 other Maoist army personnel.
She said that the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction would make available educational and vocational support to the discharged Maoist army personnel with the support of the United Nations. She encouraged the parties to come to rapid agreement on the details of modalities of the integration and rehabilitation of the remaining personnel, pledging that UNMIN and the United Nations system as a whole remained available for appropriate support to those efforts.
UNMIN, she said, had actively encouraged the Government and the parties to also create a timeline and take steps that would allow the Mission to complete its tasks and withdraw in a well-ordered manner. Important in that context was ensuring that either a new constitution was adopted by the 28 May deadline or that the Constituent Assembly was extended, so as not to create a constitutional vacuum.
Further progress, however, was threatened by opposition to the High-Level Political Mechanism from some parties, controversy over the Action Plan, occasionally violent clashes, fresh recruitment to the Nepal Army and land grabs by the Maoists, she said. In addition, severally ethnically-based organizations, some of them militant, were prepared to agitate for their respective agendas, including the establishment of ethnic-based states. There was also a climate of impunity for human rights violations, including savage attacks on two female journalists last year. Finally, with no credible monitoring mechanisms for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as a whole, there were repeated allegations of violations of the treaty.
She said that the agreements on arms and armies, under UNMIN's purview, had been respected by the parties to a significant degree, however, although they were increasingly under strain, which was all the more reason to move expeditiously towards completing the political steps foreseen by the peace process.
Towards that end, she said, she welcomed the Government's request for an extension of UNMIN's mandate for three months and three weeks linked to an ambitious timetable for the integration of Maoist army personnel, and she hoped that the renewed commitment would bring tangible results.
Taking the floor after Ms. Landgren's briefing, Nepal's representative, Gyan Chandra Acharya, announced that on 9 January, his Government had submitted a request for the extension of UNNIN' mandate until 15 May. He said that, since 2006, tremendous progress had been made in the political transformation from a ten-year old conflict to sustainable peace and stability. Writing a constitution was essential to accelerate that transition and all parties had committed to completing the constitution in time, by May 2010. That new constitution was expected to usher in a new Nepal that was more inclusive, federal and democratic, ensuring sustainable peace, rule of law, human rights and basic principles and norms of democratic governance.
He said integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants was expected to be completed before the promulgation of the new constitution. The release of the cantoned disqualified minors was expected to be completed by mid-February. A mine action committee had been working assiduously to complete mine clearing as early as possible. Furthermore, a draft bill on the establishment of the Commission on Disappearances had been submitted to Parliament and efforts were under way to finalize a bill on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Nepal, party to 16 major international human rights instruments, was determined to ensure that there was no impunity in the country, he said. An independent judiciary, a vibrant civil society and the media had played an important role in protecting and raising awareness of human rights, despite the fact that human rights had, on occasion, been violated.
He said that, in realizing the goal of a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous new Nepal, an enhanced level of support, understanding and encouragement from the international community was needed now, more than ever before. The mandate extension of UNMIN until 15 May would enable the Mission to complete its tasks within the stipulated time.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:40 a.m., when the Council went into consultations on Nepal, as previously agreed.
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