MINISTRY OF PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN NEPAL
Manish Thapa, Coordinator, Nepal Peace Initiative Alliance
Dear Friends & Colleagues
I like to share you exciting news from Nepal and especially one of my initiatives that I launched in Nepal.
As most of you know that, I was lobbying for a state level Ministry/Department of Peace in Nepal since 2005. I formed a coalition known as “Nepal Peace Initiative Alliance” of 13 organizations which turned my initiative as a truly civil society movement as this coalition consists of NGOs, Academic Institutions, Media Organizations, Faith Based Organizations and Students Organizations including almost all sectors in Nepal. One of our basic objective was lobbying with the Government as well as with Maoists Insurgents at that time to start a dialogue for resolution of the conflict in Nepal and creation of state level Department of Peace (we thought at that point that creation of whole Ministry would be impossible so we demanded at least a Department within a Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs).
Our initiative were further fueled when we were invited to join for creation of Global Alliance for Ministries & Departments of Peace (<http://www.mfp-dop.org/>www.mfp-dop.org) which aimed in providing support as well as exchange of ideas and experience for lobbying for such departments & ministries world wide.
When we achieved our first objectives – dialogue between the Maoists and the 7 key political parties, we were actively supported the April Revolution which was instrumental in restoring the Democracy in Nepal.
Then after wards we were in constant dialogue with 7 key Political Parties and Maoists for supporting the creation of Department of Peace. We had meeting with chief advisor of the Prime Minister, leading political leaders, civil society leaders and INGOs. We also had a very fruitful and positive dialogue with Maoists leaders and their student bodies and we stressed the need for such Department in Nepal especially when Nepal is in transition phase to restore peace, democracy and rule of law. Similarly we also stressed the instrumental role such department can play for reconstruction and reconciliation process without which the entire peace process will be of no use.
We were assured by both sides that they liked the idea and they are thinking of it. To our surprise, on 31st March, 2007, meeting of key political leaders decided to create a Ministry of Peace & Reconstruction. We thank all the political leaders and political parties for this step.
Now we can proudly say that we are among the first country along with Solomon Island to have such Ministry in place in governmental structures. There are more than 20 countries including USA, UK, Canada, Uganda, Costa Rica, Australia etc where there are active campaigns for lobbying for state level Ministry/Department of Peace.
We would like to thank all our supporters, well wishers and especially to Global Alliance for this success. Now we are redefining our strategies for better & prosperous Nepal.
Thanking you all
Manish Thapa is Executive Director of the Asian Study Center for Peace & Conflict Studies – ASPECT: http://www.aspectasia.org, and Sauvé Research Scholar, McGill University, 1514 Avenue Docteur Penfield, Montreal, Canada.