Carter Center Urges an End to Election-Related Violence in Nepal
18 March 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +1 404 420 5124
In Kathmandu: Darren Nance, +977 1 444 5055/1446
Read the statement in Nepali (PDF).
The Carter Center's international election observation mission in Nepal has observed the pre-electoral environment in the country for the past 14 months. The Center is encouraged by the level of electoral preparations and campaigning presently taking place, as this represents a marked increase from the two previous election periods in June and November 2007. Additionally, following the signing of the United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF) agreement, the security situation has improved significantly in the Terai, though many districts remain fragile. All across the country, the Center's long term observers report that the people of Nepal want to participate in the constituent assembly election and expect that a successful election will bring sustainable peace, democracy, and prosperity to Nepal.
However, political parties and the government need to continue and increase activities that reassure voters of their commitment to the April 10 election. Following the two previous postponements, the Nepali public has grown skeptical about the government's genuine commitment to the April date. Additionally, the Center is deeply concerned by reports of continued Maoist and Young Communist League (YCL) violence in the hill and mountain districts, as well as announced plans to disrupt the election by armed groups in the Terai. The Center strongly condemns these activities and notes their potential to significantly hamper the electoral environment, decrease voter turnout, and call into question the election's credibility.
With only 22 days remaining before the constituent assembly election, the Carter Center's international election observation mission in Nepal puts forward the following recommendations in order to ensure a credible and successful electoral process. Specifically, The Carter Center:
"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.
The Carter Center conducts election observation activities in a nonpartisan, professional manner in accordance with applicable Nepali law and international standards for election observation as set forth in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The Center coordinates closely with other international and domestic observer delegations and publishes its statements on its Web site: www.cartercenter.org. The goal of the Center's mission in Nepal is to demonstrate international support for and provide an independent assessment of the constituent assembly election process in order to help to consolidate sustainable peace and multi-party democracy in Nepal.