Chapter 1: Introduction
1.2 An Overview on Human Rights Violations in Nepal
1.3 Research Problem
Chapter 2: Literature Review and Conceptual Framework
2.1 Conceptual Framework
2.2 Violence Patterns
2.3 Population variables and Human Rights Violations
Chapter 3: Research Objective and Methodology
3.1 Objective of the Study
3.2 Research Methodology
Chapter 4: Data analysis
4.1 Human Rights Situations in General
4.2 Human Rights Violations and Victims
4.3 Levels of Human Rights Violations in Various Regions
4.3.1 Development Regions and Violence
4.3.2 Geographical Regions and Violence
4.4 Population Variables and Post – Accord Human Rights Violations
4.4.1 Population and Actors of Human Rights Violations
4.4.2 Youth Population and Human Rights Violations
4.5 Armed Groups, Small Arms Incidents and Human Rights Violations
Chapter 5: Summary of findings
5.1 General Findings
5.2 Specific Findings
5.2.1 Various Regions and Human Rights Violations
5.2.2 Population Variables and Human Rights Violations
5.2.3 Armed Groups, Small Arms and Human Rights Violations
Appendix A: List of Non – State Armed Groups
Figure 4.1 Incidents of Human Rights violations from 2005 to 2010
Figure 4.2 Victims caused due to human rights violations by actors
Figure 4.3 Actors involved in human rights violations and injured victims, 2005-2010
Figure 4.4 Number of people killed by different actors between 2005 and 2010
Figure 4.5 : Post – Accord Human Rights Violations by Development Regions
Figure 4.6 Geographical, regional and district wise distribution of Human Rights Violations in Nepal, 2005-2010
Figure 4.7 Intensity of Human Rights Violations in districts
Figure 4.8 A comparison between the population distributions in various districts of Nepal with human rights violations that took place in those districts at the year of 2008
Figure 4.9 A comparison between Population and various Actors of Human Rights Violations
Figure 4.10 Number of Human Rights Violations in comparison to youth population (Age 15 to 34) – 2008
Figure 4.11 Comparison of non – state armed groups with Human Rights violations
Table 4.1 Human Rights Violations Incidents by Different Actors in before and after signing of CPA in 2006
Table 4.2 Actors perpetrating human rights violations and their victims, 2005-2010
Table 4.3 Human Rights violations in Development regions, actors and percentages
Table 4.4 Human Rights violations in Geographical regions, their actors and percentages
Table A.1 Non – State Armed Groups and their basic details
I would like to express my gratefulness to my supervisor Dr. Madhav Joshi for his excellent support throughout the learning process of this master’s thesis. Furthermore, I would like to thank Dr. Susan St. Ville as well for her valuable guidance and Prof. John Paul Lederach for his kind interest on reading this thesis. I humbly offer my heartfelt gratitude to late Prof. John Darby for expressing his willingness to supervise this project even during the time of his serious illness and eventually doing so until he passed away. I will never forget his dedication and commitment towards the success of his students. Also, I would like to thank Mr. Madhava Palihapitiya for encouraging me to apply for a placement at the Kroc institute as an MA candidate and giving his advices throughout the past few years. Finally, I am pleased to mention my loved ones, my parents, wife, my friend Buddika Sumanasena, my uncle Tissa Abeyratne and his family, who have supported me all the way through and I will be grateful forever for your love.
Chapter 1: introduction
As a sandwiched country in the middle of India and China, Nepal has been the home for more than hundred ethnic and caste groups. This plural society owns a history of radical struggles for democracy from its centuries - old monarchy by way of time to time peoples’ movements. The movement in 1990 for democratic reforms signifies the first peoples’ struggle, also known as Jana Andolan 1, which unlocked barriers for mainstream party politics from the existed panchayat system of governance.
Democratic reforms secured in 1990 did not last longer as the radical leftists were unhappy with a number of issues ranging from lack of stable and good governance to pressure from the monarchy on elected governments and widening socio economic matters around the country. The violent Maoist movement in Nepal symbolized a response to this situation while having demands for; a constitution designed by peoples’ representatives through a constituent assembly, making Nepal a republic state, and creating a new culture of democracy. The guerilla war launched by the Maoists lasted for a decade with ensuing large human and material costs to the country. Yet there were several efforts for the secession of hostilities including a couple of peace talks between the Maoists and several governments in 2001 and 2003; but none of those efforts were able to find consensus with regard to the Maoist demands for a constituent assembly, a republic state, and a new way of democracy (Upreti 2008).
The turning point of the Maoist struggle came out subsequent to a series of dictatorial actions taken by king Gayanendra in 2005 that sent away the government of prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and announced a state of emergency in Nepal. The oppression further continued to curb civil rights and the main political leaders were put under house arrest. Consequently, the political parties too recognized the monarchy as the main barrier for democratization of the country. Unremitting capriciousness of the monarchy towards multiparty democracy and other democratic pillars of the society, such as freedom of media, made political parties realize that there is no alternative apart from a populist struggle to restore democracy. On the other hand, Maoist found that it was strategically advantageous for them to exploit the rift between the political parties and the monarchy in order to achieve the objectives of their struggle. This harmony of interests between both parties stipulated collective action to topple down the traditional authority through mobilization of masses. The unilateral declaration of ceasefire by Maoists enforced collective efforts between political parties and the radicals further. It also won the hearts and minds of the majority of local population and the international community (See: Upreti 2010).
Understanding between the Maoists and the political parties set the stage for a peoples’ movement against the king, which is called Jana Andolan II . Due to the excessive pressure from the masses and the international community including India, the Monarchy had to bow out and allow the restoration of democracy in the country. The reinstatement of the parliament endowed room for Maoists to make several agreements with the government and the main political parties, which culminated in the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between the Communist party of Nepal (CPN) - Maoists and the government in November 2006.
Following the CPA in 2006, general masses had expected that main political parties would use the newly found political consensus to draft new changes to the country. The 2006 CPA had provided for a wide range of violence prevention measures including but not limited to encampment processes of Maoist ex-combatants, confinement of Nepal Army inside the barracks, adherence to ceasefire, arms management, control of additional recruitments for armed forces, and avoidance from military or combat related activities. Moreover, the CPA enclosed terms for political, social and economic transformation in Nepal such as attesting the parties’ commitment towards multiparty democracy, human rights, rule of law, freedom of media, independent judiciary, free and fair constituent assembly election, addressing the issues of marginalized groups including Dalits, indigenous people, women and various caste groups, ending feudalism, taking actions for land reforms, ensuring social and economic justice with accepting education and health care rights, constructing a national peace and rehabilitation commission and strengthening transitional justice through setting up a truth and reconciliation commission etc (CPA 2006).
Though there were few achievements pertaining to some of the above mentioned aspects, still there are a number of CPA requisites lagging behind as critical issues in country’s transition to democracy. Among them, Nepal’s continual failure to maintain consensus among major political parties in order to integrate Maoist ex –combatants and create a strong transitional justice system roughened its transition to peace (Upreti 2010). The post CPA state of affairs was vital in transforming the country’s multi party politics into an added competitiveness. The timely consensus among main political parties to overthrow the traditional monarchy was later replaced by more intensified bargaining among main political parties for power and dominance during the post – accord era of politics (Markus 2009). This nature of politics was further intensified with a series of remonstrations came from the region of Terai against the drafted interim constitution in the country subsequent to the CPA. On the brink of the dissent from Terai, concerns were raised saying that the interim constitution did not sufficiently address the requirements of Terai ethnic groups. The only well-known political party during that time, which was “Tha Sadbhavana Party”, in the region voiced its protestation towards the unequal electoral system and interim constitution’s lack of attention towards federalism (see: Jha 2012, pp. 345). Later, the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF), an ethicized political group, advocated for the rights of self-determination of the Madhesi people or the people in the Terai region of Nepal from the Pahadi domination or the rule of Hill people over them (Jha 2012). The party was instrumental in instigating a mass movement in the region against the marginalization and for the self-governance rights of the Madhesi people, which came to known as Madhesi Moverment. This nature of political bargaining to get the most out of the transitional democratic system, which did not hold well-built democratic institutions, granted the delivery for numerous political groups; and a number of them were organized with armed violence particularly in the Terai region of Nepal.
The political disorder further endowed a fertile playground for greed-based groups to engage in criminal activities with the intention of fulfilling their economically viable desires inside of a lawless state of affairs. In similar to the violent nature of criminal gangs under such conditions, many political parties also formed their own-armed outfits in order to compete within a situation where no rules of the game were formed under democratic values and conditions. Yet the actual motivations behind such criminal and political groups were greed or grievances; the common phenomenon for both groups in achieving their objectives has been the armed violence. All through the last few years of post – accord period, hundreds of criminal and political armed groups emerged (Ghimire 2010). The open border with India fueled many political armed groups and criminal outfits more than ever in the Nepal’s Terai region. Easy exchange and accessibility to small arms across the open border in the region further uphold the survival of such groups (See: Ghimire 2010, pp. 225).
Subsequent to the CPA, the momentous 2008 constituent assembly election in the country signified a historical landmark in its politics, which brought the former belligerent party the CPN - Maoists as the largest political party of the country. In addition, it had set the scene for Nepal to become a republic with putting an end to the monarchic system and structure the interim governing body with a mandate of drafting the country’s new democratic constitution. However, in spite of the inability of the constituent assembly to draft a new constitution on time via consensus among various political parties, there was no consensus among the Maoists and the Nepal army on whether to implement Security Sector Reforms (SSR) or Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) in post – war Nepal as the Maoists continued to support the idea of reorganizing the entire security apparatus ahead of DDR; and they did not want any integration of ex – combatants to be happened before the adoption of the new constitution to the country (Manandha and Neupane 2010).
It is true that the Maoist ex – combatants had to submit themselves in the course of an encampment process under the supervision of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). Yet there were several setbacks related to the integration of ex – combatants. Initially there were 19,602 ex – combatants and around 4,000 of them were disqualified from the encampment process and they were put under a different category called “Verified Minor and Late Recruit” (VMLR). Those disqualified ex-combatants were given rehabilitation training but most of them remained unhappy with what they got in comparison to the others who got qualified for the encampment process. However, the categorization of former ex – combatants under various integration and reintegration packages did not start until November 2011 (Pokhrel 2012). In addition, there were many suspicions on whether Maoists had completely handed over their all weapons during this process of encampment. According to UNMIN, the Maoist handed over 3,475 weapons; and it became a controversial figure as the number was not compatible with the amount of combatants that Maoists had (Martin 2012). Additionally, there was no proper countrywide disarmament program took place in an attempt to accumulate and dispose illicit weapons prior to the election. Eventually the Maoists went for the constituent assembly election with their own substitute group called “Young Communist League (YCL)”, which experienced serious allegations for committing armed violence throughout the country against their political opponents.
The first ever post–war election in Nepal was held with many suspicions and with a mixture of violent incidents among main political parties. The Nepal Maoists won the majority of seats in the constituent assembly without having a well disbandment of their ex – combatants and with the Young Communist League (YCL), a paramilitary wing of the Maoist party that was responsible for many violent incidents throughout Nepal. Such conditions led the other parties towards the formation of their own-armed wings or youth wings such as Madhesi Youth Force formed by Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF), Youth Force by the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist – Leninist), in order to contend with the Maoists. The election victory of the Maoists with several armed outfits subsequently changed the political culture of the country, as many political parties consequently preferred having their own-armed outfits in order to have a strong influence within the political domain.
Besides, there has been a lack of ability within the constituent assembly to form a single strong government and the continued incongruity between the top level civil – military leaderships to reach consensus pertaining to the integration of the Maoist ex – combatants had driven the country towards a protracted political crisis. Apart from that the lack of proper transitional justice mechanisms provided impunity for various greed based groups to further extend their armed violence in fulfilling various needs and interests.
1.2 An Overview on Human Rights Violations in Nepal
There were many situations during the recent history of Nepal that had given space for various actors to conduct human rights violations. As the background illustrates, the couple of peoples’ movements and the decade long insurgency in Nepal had been the fields of violence where the state actors conducted human rights violations. On the other hand the Maoists were responsible of conducting serious human rights violations throughout their insurgency since 1996 to 2006. According to Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC) data, there were 13,270 people were killed during the armed conflict which include 8,339 of state sponsored killings and 4,930 of killings conducted by the Maoists. In addition, the State was accountable for killing 175 children below 17 years old and 1,147 disappearances whereas Maoists had conducted 172 killings of children (Shakya 2009).
Down to this unmitigated situation of human rights violations during the insurgency in Nepal, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had particularly exhibited the commitment of the parties to protect and adhere to the principles of human rights through various terms in the document. The 2006 CPA devotes an entire section (section seven) on commitment for the protection of human rights of the citizen by the government of Nepal and the Maoists (See: CPA 2006). As a matter of fact, the human rights situation in Nepal immediately after the 2006 was so perilous that various organizations including Human Rights Commission, civil society organizations, and international human rights organizations including the United Nations Human Rights office in Nepal (OHCHR) were monitoring and advocating for protecting human rights.
However, peace accords do not automatically end violence because the main conflicting parties may not suddenly end their various forms of violence and new groups might also find opportunity to execute their agendas through violent means (Tristan Anne Borer 2006). Therefore, though a peace accord provided for the protection of human rights, human rights situation cannot be expected to improve in a short period of time. In addition, possible avenues for violence may occur through the frustration of the parties those who might perceive themselves as excluded groups from the peace process. Besides the lack of proper rehabilitation of ex – combatants plus the easy accessibility to weapons might imperil the safety of people with the available space for violence (Stedman 2008). As elaborated in the background, the Madhesi movement in Nepal indicated the hostility from the groups those who perceived themselves as excluded from the peace process. That led to the violent outbreaks particularly in the Terai region of Nepal including the emergence of many armed groups, armed violence and human rights violations. On the other hand, the lack and the delay of proper rehabilitation of former violent segments of the society had provided space for the emergence of paramilitary groups like YCL that instigated a lot of electoral violence and inspired many other groups to engage in human rights violations in similar manner.
One of the reasons for such state of affairs is the lack of understanding among policymakers on what procedural steps were needed to be taken first within a peace process. For any post war society, it is important that it does not immediately rush into post – accord democratization efforts such as elections or any political solutions before making necessary security guarantees to protect the human rights of the citizens (See: Freeman, 2003). The consolidated data of this research show that there were 12,725 incidents of human rights violations had taken place during the first four years after the peace agreement that include 1,927 incidents of Maoist human rights violations, 1,353 of state sponsored human rights violations and 9,445 of human rights violations conducted by the non – state groups those who different from the UCPN – Maoists and their ex – combatants but includes YCL. Furthermore, there were 2,018 of killings reported during the first four years of the peace processes that include 160 of State sponsored killings, 23 killings conducted by the Maoists and 1,835 of non – state killings, which denote the fundamental shift of human rights violations from the State and Maoists to non – state actors (See: Chapter 4).
As the post – accord situation on human rights in Nepal illustrates, there was a major procedural error when transitioning the country into a democracy. The transitional authorities could have conducted democratic reforms like constituent assembly election subsequent to successful reforming of the country’s security sector with creating mechanisms to protect human rights of the citizens. That would have prevented the county falling into a situation of outsized non – state violence with having multiple actors dealing with criminal and political violence. The secession of hostilities by the conflicting parties does not really mean that the peace is fully achieved until and unless the post war environment minimizes human rights violations. The achievement of positive peace is inextricably linked with the protection of human rights (Barash & Webel, 2002). Conversely, Nepal has been continuously vulnerable to the violent atrocities committed by various non – state actors during its peace process. These rapid emergences of a mixture of political and criminal armed groups have led the foundation towards a situation where criminalization of politics and politicization of crimes became a part of the country’s political culture as human rights violations continued to carry on.
1.3 Research Problem
This study sets to explain post-accord human rights violations in Nepal by considering demographic factors along with accounting for emergence of armed groups and small arms incidents at the regional and district levels. The increase of human rights violations can be perceived as a day- to -day phenomenon within the population rather than results due to the acts of powerful violent actors such as the Maoists and the state security forces that are secondary to the ordinary population. The massive proliferation of non – state actors within the population justifies that most of the violators of human rights were not the detached groups to the population like state security apparatus and encamped Maoists but rather they are the segments of the general population. Therefore, as a phenomenon that is rooted within the population, the patterns of human rights violations can vary according to the disparities within the normal population . For instance, a population within a particular region might have a different experience related to human rights violations from other regions due to that regions’ population size, density of its young people, influence of armed groups, availability and access to weapons etc. Therefore, a population within a region or a district can be subjected to human rights violations due to various circumstances. For that reason, it is imperative to investigate different patterns of human rights violations with relation to demographic variables in various regions and districts of Nepal.
Youth population is one of the important demographic variables within a population that can either be constructive in strengthening peacebuilding in a post war situation or destructive in keeping on post war instability (See: Levy 2006). In general, the growing youth population is considered as a “time bomb” in a country that requires careful policy implementations to prevent its destructive consequences. As an important variable within a population that can support violence escalation and also prevention, the distribution of youth population in the demographic composition of Nepal might have an influence on the patterns related to violence in post – accord period. As a sensitive cluster in the population towards issues like poverty, unemployment and discrimination, the inclination towards violence and also susceptibility towards victimization is fairly soaring with the young people within a population like Nepal. According to the World Bank statistics, the South Asian region has the largest number of youth population that transit into the maturity in the world and Nepal has the second highest percentage of young people in the region in addition to its vast unemployment ( World Bank 2012).
Once the youth have the receptiveness towards violence due to frustrations their motives for political and criminal violence become intense. In such a situation, the proliferation of armed groups become obvious in transitional societies with weaker democratic institutions; and the settings for human rights violations become abundant. According to the home ministry of Nepal (2009) there are 109 non – state armed groups in the country (Kafle 2010). However they have never produced a persisting threat to the state as the Maoists insurgency did (International Crisis Group 2010). But these groups are responsible for committing human rights violations by using the easily available small arms and portable lethal weapons. Therefore, the investigation of non – state armed and the small arms incidents that set off by these groups plus their impact towards post – accord human rights violations become important.
Finally, it is also significant to identify the regions that post – accord human rights violations were more prevalent, because it can elucidate on what are the geographical or administrative regions that have been conducive for human rights violations. In Nepal, some of the regions can be advantageous to armed groups and violence due to its geographical and population related reasons such as youth and armed groups. Therefore, an analysis on various regions in Nepal and the human rights violations becomes significant in mapping the overall picture of human rights violations in the country. By and large, to investigate such factors associated with post – accord violence in Nepal, a complete enumeration of country’s human rights violations, population, youth, armed groups and small arms; and the regional and district figures become fundamental to this research.
 Under the Panchayat System, which was practiced in Nepal between 1962 and 1990, people had the ability to elect their representatives for local governments but party politics were not allowed and the ultimate power was with the king.
 Nepal consists with three geographical belts as Terai, Hills and Mountain. Terai region considered as the plain or the flat region of the country, which is close to the Indian border.
 According to the Nepal government’s categorization on armed groups there are 70 groups that are completely criminal and 12 political armed groups. Overall, according to the government, there are 109 armed groups in Nepal either in the face of criminal or political. For more details see: http://ekantipur.com/kolnews.php?&nid=213331 (Posted on: 2009-09-05). Examples for criminal gangs are Terai Tiger, Terai Army, Terai Control, Terai Putra, Mad Army, Ranvir Sena, Dinosaur, Cobra group etc. In addition there are several Kathmandu based criminal gangs such as Pralhad Mahat gang, Ramesh Paliwal gang, Sidhdartha Lama gang etc. Following are some of the examples for politically motivated armed groups: Youth Communist League (YCL), Youth Force, Madhesi Youth Force, Terai Madhes Sewa Suraksha Sangh, Kirat Limbuwan Volunteers, Madhesi Raksha Bahini etc.
 Subsequent to the categorization of ex – combatants in January 2012, there were 9,000 ex – combatants who selected joining Nepal army, 7,000 wanted voluntary retirement and only 6 of them selected rehabilitation. The ex – combatants who decided to retire were given 500,000 to 800, 000 Nepali rupees as a retirement package. Today there are only 3,100 ex – combatants remain ambitious in joining the Nepal army and rests have opted for volunteer retirement. But, the chief leaders of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (UCPN – M) have decided to deduct 40% of the each payment from a volunteer retiree for their party and that had led to a large controversy. On the other hand the cabinet had decided to handover the chain of command of the ex – combatants to the Nepal Army including the control of their weapons. The revolutionary faction of the Maoists was unhappy with that decision. For more details visit: http://www.insightonconflict.org/2012/09/maoist-ddr-nepal/
- Quote paper
- Nuwan Herath (Author), 2013, An assessment on post-accord human rights violations in Nepal, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/274497