A White Paper:Some Perspectives on Resolving the Terai Conflicts

April 18, 2007 at 5:07 am Leave a comment

A White Paper:
Some Perspectives of the Concerned North American Nepali Diaspora on Resolving the Terai Conflicts

We, the individual members of Nepali Diaspora in North America, have been very supportive of the recent democratic movement in Nepal. It is our firm belief that democratic governance based on the rule of law and the embodiment of the principles of inclusion, equality, accountability, transparency, and responsibility is the best route for empowering Nepali people. We view the formation of the interim Government and preparation for the Constituent Assembly elections as welcome steps towards consolidating the democratic process in the country.

We, the concerned members of Nepali Diaspora, however, are deeply troubled by the recent developments in the Terai, and dissatisfied with the handling of these developments by the Government. The deadly incidents in Nepalganj, Lahan, Gaur and many other places in the Terai demonstrate failure of the Government to engage the leaders of Madhesh movement towards resolution of the Terai issue. Continuation of Madheshi and other ethnic movements are not conducive to conduct CA elections in time.

We believe the current situation arose from some major missteps in the transition process. The hastily promulgated interim constitution did not fully reflect the aspirations of the people. It failed to include the grievances of Madheshi, Janajati, Dalit, Women, and other traditionally marginalized ethnic communities. For example, the composition of the recently formed interim Government also does not reflect the proportional inclusiveness – a promise contained in Prime Minister G P Koirala’s second address to the nation after the Madhesh movement.

We have great hopes for a peaceful and democratic Nepal. Grieved by the continued violence, strikes and political stalemate on the Madhesh issues, the members of Nepali Diaspora have collectively realized that the Government of Nepal, contemporary Nepali political and civic society leaderships and mainstream media should pay an urgent attention to the problem and the major stakeholders need to implement certain effective measures in order to break the cycle of violence and consolidate the peace process. With the goal of building a new and just Nepal, we issue this White Paper and make the following urgent recommendations:

To the Government of Nepal

1. The autocratic governments of the past systematically discriminated against Madheshis, Janjatis, Dalits and Women at social, political and administrative levels. Unfortunately, many of those practices were not corrected even during the democratic regimes that followed Jana-Andolan I. Democracy that has emerged from Jan Andolan II must end all such discriminatory practices immediately, in law and in practice.

2. An impartial commission should be formed immediately to probe various incidents that took place in the Terai over the last few months. The findings of the commission formed to investigate into the Nepalganj incidents should be made public. Those responsible for violence and improper handling of the situation in Nepalganj, Gaur, Lahan, and elsewhere should be punished.

3. We acknowledge the contribution of Home Minister K. P. Sitaula for the peace process. However, his administration failed to responsibly handle the Madhesh movement. We believe that Mr. Sitaula’s resignation, at this point, will not only help heal the hurt feelings of the Madheshi citizens of Nepal but also create conducive environment for dialogue with leaders of Madhesh movement.

4. We welcome the decision of the interim Government to form a new talks team headed by Minister Ram Chandra Poudel. We strongly urge the talks team to use all the formal and informal channels to facilitate dialogue with agitating and rebel groups. The interim Government should clearly delegate all necessary power to the talks team so that the agitating groups could be assured that the Government is serious in resolving all issues.

5. The Election Commission has made it clear that the Constituent Assembly elections cannot be held by June 20. The Government should achieve a political consensus to defer the Constitution Assembly polls for a few months and take this opportunity to create an environment for a free, fair, and inclusive election by seeking a viable solution through dialogue with the agitating groups.

To the Interim Parliament

1. Members of Diaspora living in North America realize that mere constitutional declaration of equality and of the principle of non-discrimination does not change the real situation. Practical changes require specific legal provisions and defined authorities to enforce those provisions. We urge the Parliament to immediately pass anti-discriminatory laws and create an independent commission to investigate any allegations of discrimination against any ethnic groups in public employments (such as in civil, police and military services).

2. The proposed election bills should ensure constitutional guarantees for an inclusive constituent assembly.

To the Madheshi People’s Right Forum (MPRF)

1. The MPRF should publicly denounce violence and vandalism and show a mature political leadership with sufficient flexibilities to negotiate with the Government. They should be alert not to allow infiltration of miscreants into their movement.

2. The MPRF should restrain its cadres from attacking public and private property and common citizens during its protests and should take responsibility when such attacks occur.

To the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M)

1. The CPN (M) should immediately stop all acts of extortion, intimidation and violence and should adhere to the commitments made in the Comprehensive Peace Treaty.

2. The CPN (M) should not interfere with peaceful programs and activities of other political parties and organizations. They should allow the Government to take charge of any law and order problems.

To the United Nation (UN), Diplomatic Missions and other International organizations

1. The UN and other diplomatic missions should encourage and facilitate dialogue between the Government of Nepal and agitating groups as well as armed rebels of the Terai, relating to their legitimate demands for equality, inclusiveness, fair representation and human rights.

2. We believe that addressing these issues is an integral part of the establishment of sustainable democracy in Nepal and, thus, urge the UN and diplomatic missions to help the stakeholders of Nepal to achieve this goal.

Lastly, the list of the signatories of the White Paper shall be maintained by Mr. Lalit Jha, and can be obtained through an e-mail request at lalit1966@gmail.com.

Signatories to the White Paper:

1. Dr. Pramod Kantha    Dayton    Ohio

2. Angaraj Timilsina       Santa Monica   California

3. Dr. Ambika Adhikary   Tempe    Arizona

4. Ratan K. Jha             Houston   Texas

5. Dr. Padam Sharma     Saint Paul   Minnesota 

6. Mukesh Singh           Columbus   Ohio 

7. Lalit Jha                  Wahoo    Nebraska

8. Rakesh Mishra           State College   Pennsylvania

9. Bipin Shah                Bowling Green  Ohio 

(Continued…)

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मधेसी व्रि्रोह र मेरो राजिनामा Madhesi Dream: A Madhesi Nepal ?

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