New phase of Nepal's peace process begins with UNDP support

Jan 23, 2007

New phase of Nepal's peace process begins with UNDP support Marking a new phase in the peace process, the United Nations has begun registering and storing weapons of Maoists, former combatants in Nepal, currently encamped in seven main cantonments and 21 satellite cantonments around the country.

The registration team has already completed the registration of Maoist arms and combatants in Chitwan and Nawalparasi cantonments. The first phase registration is expected to be completed by mid-February, while no dates have yet been set for the second phase.

Each registration team consists of a team leader, registration officer and assistant. The registration team is working alongside a team of ex-Gurkhas forming the Interim Task Force and UN monitors fielded by the Office of the Personal Representative to the Secretary General (OPRSG).This significant process is being supported by teams of registration experts from UNDP in Afghanistan. The experts are training Nepalese registration officers.

The first day of registration went very well thanks to 'excellent cooperation' between the Maoists and the UN, said General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen, a UN military adviser in Nepal who visited the cantonment site in Chitwan, south of the capital Kathmandu.

The steps being taken by the UN are in support of the peace accord signed in November by the Nepalese Government and Maoist rebels who had been conducting an insurgency for a decade. More than 13,000 people are estimated to have been killed during the conflict, and thousands more have been displaced from their homes.

Under the agreement a new constitution will be drawn up. Recently UNDP launched an initiative to improve capacities and the readiness of key national actors and the public at large to participate in a successful constitution building process in Nepal. Already a small team has begun work, providing advice and expert technical support to decision makers, civil society and other key players.

UNDP is also gearing up to assist civil society in their efforts to improve understanding about the constituent assembly process by helping to produce civic education material, hold national seminars and information workshops.

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