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The Carter Center's Long-Term Observation In Nepal Indicates That Identity-Based Political Activity Has Decreased

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पूर्ण विवरण पढ्नुहोस\

CONTACT: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404-420-5124; In Kathmandu, David Hamilton +977 01-444-5055

Kathmandu…In a report released today, The Carter Center notes that identity-based political activity in Nepal has decreased since May 2012, providing space for much-needed civic dialogue on federalism and social inclusion. The long-term observation focused on the growing tendency toward identity-based political movements in Nepal since 2006, particularly movements focused on federalism, and those which increased around the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May 2012.

The report explores findings on how identity-based political activity has influenced perceptions of federalism among Nepali citizens and its subsequent effect upon communal relations. The Carter Center's observations and findings are based on approximately 3,000 interviews conducted across the country by its observers between September 2011 and December 2012.

"Even though identity politics and federalism are politically sensitive topics to discuss, the role of identity in Nepali politics is an important part of the current political debate and should be discussed openly in order to move the constitutional process forward, and to avoid a repetition of the tensions seen in April and May 2012," said David Hamilton, field office director for The Carter Center in Nepal.

The Center's observers found that identity-based mobilizations in April and May 2012 did not spark widespread communal tensions across the country, although relations did worsen in some areas such as the Far Western and Western regions. In general, relations soon improved after the Constituent Assembly was dissolved, although local conflict mediation measures reportedly had some effect in helping to diffuse tension.

One key finding is that there is a lack of information and understanding about federalism among average citizens, most likely because political parties, civil society, and the government have failed to successfully disseminate accurate information on the topic.

In the absence of an effective dialogue, there are fears about federalism and a widespread belief that disputes about it could trigger future communal tensions. However, many citizens believe that the Nepali state should be decentralized in some form and do more to protect cultural and linguistic traditions.

The report notes that relations between Nepal's three largest political parties (Nepali Congress, UCPN (Maoist), and CPN-UML) and Janajati-Adivasi organizations have become increasingly tense, in large part because of recent debates on federalism.

Observers also found that lower-level political party cadres and affiliated ethnic sister wings have increasingly expressed frustration with their respective leadership for not actively engaging in dialogue on the topic.

Finally, the observation noted that although identity-based political activity has decreased in general since May 2012, some identity-based actors have reportedly been active in boosting membership and expanding their presence at the local level.

Summary of Key Recommendations:

  • Political parties, identity-based organizations, civil society, the media, and local governments should do more to accurately inform citizens about federalism and how it will impact them at the local level.
  • Peace process stakeholders and those drafting the constitution should ensure the inclusion of all segments of society, especially those who are not geographically concentrated in any particular region, within any future Nepali federal system.
  • Peace process stakeholders should develop best practices with regards to conflict management at the local level, specifically regarding identity-based disputes.
  • During any future public demonstrations, the government, police, organizers, and protesters should respect freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest.
  • Greater emphasis should be placed on increasing local-level dialogue among police, political parties, civil society, and citizens around major constitutional deadlines.



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. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the 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 to increase crop production.

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