Ray of Hope in Nepal’s Peace Process

ASIA--PACIFIC, 13 Jun 2011

Binaya Devkota - Rajdhani National Daily

Five years after the beginning of Nepal’s peace process, there’s a new turn. The main task of the peace process, integration of Maoist combatants, has been fixed to start. A meeting of the Special Committee headed by the prime minister on Monday approved a time-framed plan of action that promises to complete the groundwork by June 24 this year.

This brings new hope to the Nepalese people who have been suffering from armed conflict for 15 years. The special committee, with representation of all political parties and the government, has worked out an 18-day plan of action to complete all the groundwork for integrating the Maoist combatants in the government security forces, covering the Nepal Army (NA), Nepal Police (NP) and Armed Police Force (APF).

According to special committee member Dr Ramsharan Mahat, the committee has set this June 19 as the deadline for finalizing integration modalities, integration numbers, standard norms for integration, rank harmonization and the rehabilitation packages.

The finalization of these issues is at the centre of the much-awaited management of the Maoist combatants who have been living in 28 cantonments since their verification in 2007 by the United Nations. There are 19 thousand UN verified combatants.

The combatants will be separated into three camps after categorization. Those opting for integration will be placed in one camp while those choosing rehabilitation will be kept in another camp. Combatants opting for voluntary retirement will be kept in a third camp. The special committee also decided to deploy 126 army personnel and army monitors at all 21 satellite cantonments by Friday.

Ex-combatants management is one of the main issues of the Nepalese peace process. In the peace accord which was signed by Maoist commander-in-chief Prachanda and peace process leader and former prime minister of Nepal the late Girija Prasad Koirala in 2005, the integration process of combatants was to be finalized within six months of the formation of the Constituent Assembly (CA) formed in 2008. Because of political disputes over the integration issue it has remained as a problem beyond the expiry of the two years tenured CA. Then, political parties decided to expand the CA tenure for one year. But that also did not work out and the expanded one year tenure expired this May 28, uselessly.

In these circumstances the Nepal Congress and other opposition parties decided to dissolve the CA as the Maoists would not be sincere in attending to the integration of their combatants. Under this pressure the Maoist and other political parties reached the conclusion to expand CA for three months to give a chance for combatant integration to the Maoists in the 11th hour of May 28 midnight. Now, the Maoists have also agreed to begin the combatant’s management process and this will be completed within three months (August 13, 2011). According to the agreement, if the combatant’s management process is completed taking more than three months the tenure of CA will be expanded to declare a new constitution.

After these points agreement had been reached the Maoists seem positive about completing the peace process. Meanwhile, they have decided to end the dual security system of their leader. After entered into the peace process the Maoist’s top leaders were using their own combatants and the state’s police.

Maoist Standing Committee has decided to send the combatants to the respective cantonments in which they were originally registered during the verification by the United Nations Mission in Nepal.

“I would like to thank all for the vigilance that you have shown throughout your work. I wish for your progress in the coming days,” said Prachanda. Now the Maoist leaders’ security squad comprises of security personnel deputed by the government – another positive sign.

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Binaya Devkota is a journalist with the Nepali language newspaper Rajdhani National Daily.

Go to Original – pressenza.com

 

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