UN To Mediate The Conflict In Nepal
Speaking to this scribe at New Jersey, The Peace Media Research Center's advisor Dr. Alok K. Bohara, said:
"There are three areas: Providing technical assistance: The warring sides still have to do all the talking and offer
compromises, but a team of mediation experts can handle all logistics. They can create an atmosphere of dialogue,
organize news releases, and help diffuse tensions, and also provide some parameters.
"Monitor elections: There is no alternative to elections and it must be free and fair. Even if we have an all-party
government, this must be our priority. The international community can provide help to monitor such elections.
Post-conflict reconstruction: The international community can create a trust fund to address the needs of the people,
especially those who are directly affected by the conflict. Kul C Gautam's effort in this area has been commendable, and
he could be a good resource person. The most hard-hit areas like Rolpa, Rukum, and Salyan and others such as Jajarkot
and Jumla must get immediate attentions: job training, schools, health posts, feeder roads, agriculture extension
programs, just to name a few.
"The UN can play a similar role as I outlined above. They also can put pressure on the King to reconcile with the
political parties. These two forces must come together to address the Maoist problem collectively. An all-party
government is a good start.
"The neighbors like India and China and other forces such as the US and the UK should welcome the help of the UN and
should not view this as an intervention. The Maoist insurgency has cost many lives and the economy of a tiny country
like Nepal is in shamble. The UN's role in the reconstruction is vital and it can also provide a neutral buffer. In
fact, any involvement of the other countries can be very tricky. It is quite sad to see a country like India, such a big
power in the region, not welcoming the UN to mediate the conflict in Nepal".
The Peace Media Research Center is a media watch group for conflict resolution. It's mission is to disseminating the
body of knowledge regarding peace through research and education.
The Media Research Program will develop and disseminate valuable knowledge on the prevention, and peaceful resolution of
conflictsthrough meetings, written articles and other forms of research.
Dr. Alok K. Bohara further said:
"The situation is very dangerous and sad in Nepal. Children and other citizens are being kidnapped in droves in remote
places by the Maoists; they are overrunning security posts killing dozens; raising taxes openly all across the rural
areas; there are cases of rights abuses by the security forces, and here we have our monarch and his hand-picked
government focused on arresting professionals, elected parliamentarians, students, and housewives for violating rally
related ordinances. You have a picture of a beheaded Nepali in the street of Beni (an area recently attacked by the
Maoists), and then you have a woman bleeding from the policeman's stick in the capital.
"Something is wrong with this picture! Misplaced priorities, perhaps, and the King must pay attention to this. Assistant
Secretary Christian Rocca's latest speech has also urged the King to form an all-party government. Perhaps the King has
been advised not to fight two battles at the same time. Nevertheless, the current demonstrations on the street show that
the political forces are serious about their liberty and political rights".
Dr. Alok K. Bohara has published close to 60 peer-reviewed articles in well-known professional journals; has mentored
and produced several PhD students; involved in several National Science Foundation grants; has taken on several
university-wide assignments; and has published several opinion pieces in Kathmandu based newspapers further added:
"I believe in protecting and promoting the views of the ethnic and political minorities, and if that's what they are
worried about then there are ways to achieve them. One does not need to go on a scorch-earth policy of killing,
kidnapping, and infrastructure destruction.
"Forming of regional governments and some form of proportional representation system of election can be made a part of
the negotiation strategy. They can demand regional universities and perhaps insist on sharing the revenue from the hydro
resources with the central government. A 50/50 formula between the regions and the center can be a devolutionary
mechanism. Other ideas could include targeted programs, such as, temporary quota system in education and jobs and so on.
"On the other hand, if they really want the Constituency Assembly as a single most goal, then they must be ready to
renounce armed struggle, surrender arms to the UN (e.g.,) and embrace elections run by a neutral party (an all-party
government perhaps). But all that may be part of a negotiation. They should also listen to the political parties and see
what their demands are. You cannot just scrap the hard-fought democracy and a constitution for some unknown form of
system they refer to vaguely as people's democracy".
"The NRNs can provide moral support and perhaps add to the noise, but the main thrust must come from the forces in
Nepal. The Nepali Diaspora including the NRN can be very useful in drawing attention. For example, this petition drive
has been picked up by the National Public Radio station (Chicago), and they have provided a link on their web.
"The congressmen from the area can be made aware of such events through these types of channels. With the growing
interest of the US government, it becomes important to educate the US policymakers about the situation in Nepal. The
group like the NRN can be that vehicle. The current petition is an excellent example of their collective effort".He
said. Dr. Bohara has given his level best to write about constitutional reforms, corruption, public opinion, devolution,
liberal democracy, conflict, and higher education. He also went to Montreal to present a paper last month on the state
versus the Maoist conflict.
On a different note, currently he is trying to establish a research agenda at the University of New Mexico (Department
of Economics) on issues related to Nepal: women's empowerment and its effect on education and health status, conflict
and its consequences, and social capital and environmental degradation, technological adoption, SAFTA and its
implication, and the GIS methodology and its application and the list goes on.
"They are the warring factions with guns and there is very little trust between the two. The atmosphere of understanding
will take root when these parties sit down for a dialogue. That's why a third party intervention by an entity like the
UN is so essential to provide a buffer zone between the two. Our petition urges all the political forces in Nepal to use
the help of UN.
Many democracies around the world have taken years to mature, and we are going through a similar process. Our political
leaders could have done the same. Instead, our political process was very unstable during the last 12 years, and people
were crying for good governance. Twelve prime ministers in as many years and the politicization of our institutions did
not help the situation. I hope we learned the lesson here. A prolonged conflict is not in the best interest of anyone.
The geo-political reality will not allow a one-party communist state in Nepal, and going back to an autocratic type
party-less system is only a dream. A multi-party system in the form of liberal democracy is the answer. All the
protagonists have something to gain by coming together".
Dr. Alok K. Bohara, currently a tenured full professor of economics, Department of Economics, University of New Mexico
since 1987 further said:
"For now, the ball is in King's court. The King must return the favor to the Nepali people by handing back the power to
the elected representatives, and he must show his flexibility on some key constitutional issues such as, ensuring the
sovereignty of the parliament and relinquishing the control of the Army to the civilian authority. An all-party
government must also show its willingness to negotiate and offer some compromises.
"At least not yet, but it is dangerously getting close to being one. In fact, Nepal is a confused state. After much
struggle, Nepal became a democratic country, and the people were overjoyed with hopes and high expectations. Yet at the
same time we "allowed" an insurgency to breed and get out of control. Instead of pointing fingers, however, we need to
work towards creating a set of mechanisms to prevent it from happening again. We must put in place some constitutional
reforms. The foremost is the creation of an all-party government, and such interim government must be led by the major
Dr. Bohara also spoke about a media watch said: "It is a noble cause especially during the time of this crisis. A media
watch group is needed to monitor the progress in Nepal and your endeavour will help this effort".
The Peace Research Center is founded with a strong belief to educate people on conflict resolution through innovative
research, dissemination of information and negotiable agreement. Some of the main focus of the center has been on
disarmament, conflict resolution, peace and crises.
The Peace Media Research Center will conduct policy-oriented activities and engages in the search for solutions in cases
of actual or potential violent conflict. The Peace Research Center calls upon Media to be fair, accurate and must
present all points of view. . It will also organize interactions, talks, seminars and conferences on conflict resolution
and related issues.
(Kamala Sarup is a Co-Ordinator of a media watch group - The Peace Media Research Center - and can be reached at