Nepalese People Do Not Want War

Published: Wed 29 Sep 2004 01:33 PM
Nepalese People Do Not Want War
By Kamala Sarup
(Kamala Sarup is a Co-Ordinator of a media watch group - The Peace Media Research Center - and can be reached at )
Recently, The high-level Peace Committee in Nepal officially called on the Maoists for peace talks. In response to the government's call for talks, spokesman of the CPN (Maoist), Krishna Mahara, said his party had already decided not to hold talks with the government and that there was no possibility of dialogue as “foreign interference in the country continued and all the organs of the state were in a state of surrender.”
Mahara further said “We are still serious towards that threat but the government itself is inviting foreign interference and has warned of bringing in foreign army directly". Maoist response has come as a setback to the ruling coalition. Government officials are yet to comment on the latest Maoist position.
The four-party government had a month ago formed a high-level Peace Committee headed by the PM Deuba which includes UML,RPP,Nepal Sadbhawana Party in order to initiate negotiation with the Maoists and coordinate the efforts for rehabilitation of those affected by the conflict.
Even recently, half a dozen professional groups representing doctors, engineers, lawyers, journalists and teachers have also called upon both the government and Maoist rebels to immediately go for cease fire and resume peace negotiations in the country.
In a statement issued on the occasion of International Peace Day , Professional Alliance for Peace and Democracy, an umbrella group of Nepali professionals, has alleged both the state and rebels of posing obstacles towards professionals from practicing freely in their areas of expertise.
Nepal suffers from ongoing conflicts and tensions. The psychological impact of Maoists war in Nepal has weakened all components of a democratic civil society. The cold war ended with the collapse of communism, but on the other hand, radical forces bent on spreading fundamentalist ideologies have arisen.
Everyday countless innocent victims including children and women die in Nepa In reality, the majority of Nepalese victims are men, women and even children, who have not taken up arms. They are peaceful Nepalese.
Nearly nine years of civil war have left roughly 10,500 Nepalese dead. Innocent people and police officials of various ranks and even members of opposing political parties have been the most affected victims. The Maoists have destroyed development infrastructure worth billions of rupees. In nine years, has brought the fragile economy into deep trouble. In the chaos of conflict and the panic of fight, many children become separated from their families. Not only are large numbers of children killed and injured, but countless others grow up deprived of their material and emotional needs. Children are also being used as human shields.
Forceful recruitment of young women in the rebel force by the Maoist is another serious issue in Nepal. Many young women are displaced from their home and forced to stay out because of this threat to them at the villages.
The conflict in Nepal has been epitomized by gross human rights violations that have increased dramatically over the past nine years. Over the years several Nepalese have attempted to address the issues -- social, political and economic injustices -- that the Maoists claim to be the principal cause of the conflict.
Today many of the Nepalese people are routinely subjected to massacres, torture, disappearances, kidnapping and forced displacement. The Maoists, who are forced deeper into the jungle, realized their only chance of achieving power was by waging war against the government.
Humanitarian crisis is taking place in Nepal. Ordinary Nepalese citizens, including children, are the targets of brutal attacks by the Maoists. The situation has worsened in recent years because conflicts have grown more prominent and people suffer more in these. Not only do they suffer from bombs and other violence against civilians, they are all too often drawn into direct participation in these wars.
The war-affected children of the eastern Nepal have no opportunity for education, and eat one meal a day, if they are lucky. Many are homeless, forced to flee because of acute poverty.The number of children who have been killed, disabled or wounded or have otherwise suffered from grievous harm remains unknown. Girls living on the streets due to war or poverty were "extremely vulnerable" to sexual predation once they reached puberty.
Furthermore, Maoists are attacking ambulances, Red Cross and their facilities and restricting their movement, making it almost impossible for the injured to get treatment and for humanitarian aid activities to be carried out. The vast numbers of women and children affected and traumatised by armed conflict.
"Understanding cannot be reached by sticking to extreme political stands on both sides. Mutual give and take with an open mind to leave out something, even if very dear, and formulate an atmosphere of compromise suitable in a pluralistic society like Nepal will be the only answer to break the present impasse. We cannot exist in isolation. Barriers are crumbling down and all kinds of people everywhere are coming closer together. For this very reason, peaceful coexistence is the most fitting solution to Nepal problems and of course for solving national issues too". The Peace Media Research Center's secretary Monica Kozlowski said recently.
She further said "There exist a lot of conflicting views within our different political ideologies and concepts, but they can be sorted out not by using violent means but by sitting together for negotiations and frank exchange of views. No nation makes any headway if the extreme leftist or rightist views predominate, as they blindly resort to their own die-hard analyses".
What Nepali people want is improvement of transport and communication, education, healthcare, farming, industry and over-all a happy life with security, friendship and mutual trust and cooperation.
Wars have always brought ruin. Even those who think they have defeated their adversaries have experienced no gain and enjoyed no mental peace. The Maoists war has driven away tourists and investors. Even the EU described the Maoist insurgency as an attempt to destroy Nepal's democracy.
The peace-loving Nepalese want a safe future for their children. Peace making is a long-term process and even in remote places Nepalese people were keen to gather information about the peace process.
If the Government and Maoists leaders want peace, then resolving the issues of the relationships between the people and the communities with equality, tolerance, and friendship is necessary. The people who have been displaced from their lands and homes by the current conflict, should be allowed to return to their homes and lands in peace and security.
To achieve permanent peace, security and stability in Nepal, the political parties, civic society and intellectual forces should make the peace process more participatory and should devote themselves to the creation of a peaceful and prosperous Nepal through mutual understanding. The dialogue with the Maoists should be concluded so as to fulfill the objective of multi-party system, constitutional monarchy, people's sovereignty and peace. A code of conduct should be developed between the state and opposition group and the political parties should also be involved in the dialogue.
Nepalese people know Nepal needs constructive support to focus on a constructive future and escape the horrors of further violence. Human rights, sovereignty and national interest must be made the meeting point and basis for the peace talks. These issues should by no means be compromised for any reason. Politics should be for the welfare and interests of the people and nationality, national solidarity and moving the democratic line by enlisting the participation of all the linguistic and ethnic communities in the campaign of nation building.
Peace should prevail at any cost. The negotiation will be greatly helped by a clear, rational conception of what can be changed and what cannot be changed because the negotiation is about peace for all the peoples of Nepal. It is true, peace and conflict resolution may require the art and skill of negotiation, but that alone would not be sufficient.
It would be difficult if the rebels and the government do not begin the serious business of narrowing down their differences. The peace talks should move ahead in a democratic and transparent atmosphere so let's hope that the peace talks will begin soon and all the major political parties and the civil society will be included in the process.
Dialogue is essential to find an amicable solution out of the present chaos so delay in the peace talks has led to the rising of suspicion among the public whether violence would resume. We Nepalese should not waste valuable time by discussing trivial matters. Instead, we should unite for a joint effort for peace.
To manage the existing political conflict, the root causes should be addressed in order to take the problem to a logical end and to establish a lasting peace. Political parties, civil society and Human rights organizations should work together to reach the existing conflict. Nepal cannot afford any more violence. Nepal does not want war. We have to resolve the differences between us through peace talks. This insanity of killing must come to an end. Obviously a long drawn out process of reconciliation is necessary for a permanent peace.

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