Samar Basi – “We Go There Together” The Local Peace Committees and Their Effect on Building Peace in Nepal
“We have ears but no hearing. We have eyes but no sight. But I hope our children do not have to go through a similar fate of ignorance.” – Kattike Nepali (Jumla)
From 1996 to 2006 Nepal experienced a horrible, civil conflict taking over 13,000 of its citizens, displaced another 25,000 with many more unaccounted for. With the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord in 2006, between the Government of Nepal and the Maoists insurgents, the violence ceased but the long road to recovery and peace began. Nepal is currently transitioning towards a democratic government. The establishment of a Constitutional Assembly (CA) in 2008 allowed many marginalized voices to be heard and began the process of creating a near complete product of what could have become the new constitution for the country. Unfortunately, the CA was dissolved in May 2011 before the constitution was drafted due to lack of political consensus on the issue of federalism. Bandhs (political demonstrations), poverty, ethnic discrimination, lack of access to resources, and oppression of marginalized groups are some of the challenges Nepalis are still working to transform and heal their country after the conflict.
One mechanism aiding the peace process is the creation of the Local Peace Committees (LPC) that seek to promote inclusivity, peace, and restoration of the country through grassroots leadership, dialogical processes and the mediation of local conflicts. Nepal is in a state of political transition as they continue to create a constitution representative of its diverse peoples. The following paper is a case study of the LPCs in one district, noting the challenges and effectiveness of the LPCs pertaining to the wider peace process in Nepal. While the LPCs have experienced several challenges due to political instability, they have been able to create a structure by which to use conflict resolution processes and other strategies to works toward creating sustainable peace in Nepal.