Nepal’s peace process on track but challenges remain – Ban Ki-moon
The ongoing peace process in Nepal appears on track to deliver peace and stability, but the national political scene there become more complex and challenging in recent months, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes in a new report, urging efforts to maintain the positive momentum.
“Renewed and expanded efforts will have to be made to sustain the successful trajectory of the peace process,” Mr. Ban states in his latest report on Nepal, where a peace accord signed last November formally ended a decade-long conflict that killed an estimated 13,000 people.
Among recent challenges, Mr. Ban cited the postponement of the Constituent Assembly election, which was originally scheduled for mid-June but is now slated for 22 November because regulations governing the process were not ready in time.
Mr. Ban warns that failure to ensure a credible election within a realistic and well-planned period could have a serious impact on the unity of the country’s eight ruling parties and their ability to function in unison within the existing coalition.
A successful election is the “central element” of the country’s democratization process, the report stresses.
“The stakes are too high,” he writes, adding that “complacency or differences over secondary issues cannot be allowed to threaten or deny the people of Nepal the realization of their ardent desire for sustainable peace.”
He adds that the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) – tasked with supporting the election – continues to advise that “considerable work needs to be done” if the Constituent Assembly election is to be held this November.
The overall human rights situation in the country continues to be “worrying,” Mr. Ban states. The main concerns are linked to inadequate public security and law enforcement and to unresolved issues of discrimination regarding representation and inclusion in the political process.
Meanwhile, the UN announced that it has signed the necessary agreements with the Government of Nepal to pave the way for the establishment in Kathmandu of the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific.
The Centre, created by the UN General Assembly in 1987, has been operating out of New York since 1989.
“Over the last 17 years, the role of the Regional Centre has been dramatically transformed from the original task of disseminating objective disarmament information to an important partner of the Member States and other constituents in the Asia-Pacific region for the common cause of a better and safer world,” stated its Director, Tsutomu Ishiguri.
The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, assisted by the UN Development Programme’s country office in Nepal, is working with the Nepalese Government to relocate the Centre to Kathmandu within six months.