Civil Peace Service: Building capacity and networks among peace actors in the context of dealing with the past

Project description

Title: Civil Peace Service: Systematic strengthening and networking of local and national peace potentials in the post-war phase
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Nepal
Overall term: 2008 to 2020

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Context

Nepalese society is characterised by poverty, social exclusion and state structures that fail to adequately protect the rights of citizens. In 1996, a small Communist Party declared civil war. The Maoist movement won support over the following five years, above all in rural areas. In 2001, the Nepalese Government mobilised the army to fight against the movement.

A peace agreement between the Maoists and the political parties was signed in 2006. One of the core elements of the agreement was the adoption of a new constitution in September 2015. However, the constitution is controversial among some of these groups, as they feel that it takes insufficient account of their rights and interests.

At the same time, the country has embarked on a path towards decentralisation and federalism during the past decade. Elections were held in 2017 for the federal structures. These were the first local elections for 20 years and enabled elected local representatives to begin work. Elections also took place at national and provincial level at the end of 2017. It is not yet clear whether this federalisation process will lead to more peace and stability or whether it will create new inequalities.

The risk of violence remains, while inequality and discrimination persist in a highly politicised public space.

Objective

The Nepalese population deals with conflicts in a fragmented society without resorting to violence. Groups of victims and survivors have documented their cases and are processing the legacy of the past.

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Approach

The Civil Peace Service (CPS) promotes a constructive, non-violent way of dealing with conflicts in Nepal. In addition, the project builds capacity and networks among local, regional and national peace actors by providing support for community mediation, dialogue forums, non-violent communication and theatre for conflict transformation. Moreover, local actors, non-governmental organisations and government institutions in particular receive training in the field of civil conflict transformation and dealing with the legacy of the past. The project also includes people living in rural areas in these activities.

CPS assists victims of the civil war (1996 to 2006) in demanding accountability and obtaining answers as part of transitional justice. It also supports local remembrance work processes. For instance, CPS has brought together communities that were affected by the conflict and theatre groups in order to work on topics relating to the past on a broader public scale.

Results

Local community mediators and dialogue facilitators are helping to achieve non-violent solutions to local conflicts. Nepalese non-governmental organisations are able to promote non-violent transformation of individual, social and political conflicts. Networks of female survivors of the conflict undertake initiatives to support local remembrance work. In addition, safe places are now available for survivors of the conflict; their voices are heard and healing processes have been initiated. Survivors are demanding justice, having shared their stories with political representatives and other relevant authorities.