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The Carter Center Urges Progress on Nepal's Peace and Constitutional Processes, Increased Attention to the Local Level

Read The Carter Center International Observation Mission in Nepal
First Interim Report (
English and Nepali)

In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, 404-420-5124
In Kathmandu: Sarah Levit-Shore, +977 1 444-5055/1446

Nepal has made significant progress on the path to peace and inclusive democracy over the past three years but the future of the process now appears in question. Reminiscent of the 1990s, political leaders in Kathmandu appear focused on zero-sum power politics at the expense of the constitution drafting, peace process, and provision of basic government services. The current political stalemate in Kathmandu is leading to a worrying move away from the common agenda set out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and subsequent political agreements. At the same time, rising challenges at the local level are being largely ignored but may have wide-ranging implications for the future.

Nepal's political actors have proven that they can overcome immense challenges when they work together toward a common goal.  It is now time for public and private renewal of past commitments to further the constitution drafting and peace process. The government, political parties, civil society, and the international community should recognize that there is no better way forward than swift compromises by all parties that will allow Nepal's transition to sustainable peace and inclusive democracy to regain forward momentum.

Key Findings

The Carter Center commends progress by the Constituent Assembly (CA) but is concerned by the delays in the CA calendar and the alienation of citizens from the process. Furthermore, the Center notes that the lack of substantive public dialogue on the issue of state restructuring in Kathmandu has left a vacuum at the local level that is presently being filled by ethnic-based organizations and other groups.

The Center also commends the progress in the peace process but notes that significant outstanding obligations remain.  Primary among these are the commitments related to integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants and the democratization of the Nepal Army.  At the local level, the Center has found that ILO Convention 169 has articulated new responsibilities for the government toward Adivasi/Janajati communities, but is presently being misused by some ethnic-based organizations to justify unlawful actions. Finally, while in many districts land return and reform reportedly are not overt sources of conflict at present, there are some areas in which these issues continue to provoke disputes and violence.

Impunity for politically affiliated individuals and the activities of armed groups continue to be the greatest sources of insecurity.  Young Communist League violence appears to have decreased, despite some prominent incidents, and there are also reports of increased aggressiveness by a small number of ethnic based organizations. The government's new security strategy is a positive development but should be implemented impartially and with due respect for human rights.

Key Recommendations

  • Constitute a national unity government composed of all major political parties to enable constitution drafting efforts, implementation of the peace process, and basic governance to move forward, recognizing that ultimately this is in the direct interest of all parties. Activate the proposed High Level Political Mechanism and an effective Peace Process Monitoring Mechanism.
  • Activate the Army Integration Special Committee with participation from all major parties.  Immediately begin the discharge process for disqualified Maoist combatants.
  • Elect a chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the CA.
  • Seek effective means to solicit the input of concerned marginalized groups on the issue of state restructuring and seek citizen input in a clear and straightforward manner on contentious constitutional issues most frequently raised at the local level.
  • Prosecute individuals who commit criminal activities, regardless of political affiliation, and comply with all relevant human rights standards when implementing the government's new security strategy.

More detailed findings are available in the Carter Center's report available at

Since June 2009, The Carter Center has observed Nepal's constitutional and peace processes to identify obstacles and opportunities to their advancement. Following on the Center's international election observation mission, the Center has deployed 15 long-term observers representing nine different nationalities to all five of Nepal's development regions. Carter Center observers report on key constitutional and peace process issues, reaching not only to district headquarters but also to the village level.  The attached report presents the Carter Center's findings and recommendations based on meetings with a range of stakeholders, including political parties, government officials, security officials, civil society representatives, marginalized groups, members of the international community, and common citizens. 

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